According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 2.2 billion people are visually impaired or blind worldwide. Of all these cases, more than 1 billion could have been prevented or have not yet been treated. Of course, these data highlight the fragility of our ocular apparatus and the toll that our lifestyle takes on our eyes.
On the other hand, it is estimated that about it is estimated that around 25% of the population has myopia, one of the most common refractive errors in the world.one of the most common refractive errors in modern society. Fortunately, in recent decades, laser techniques have been developed that make it possible to correct, to some extent, simple and pathological myopia. If you are thinking of ditching glasses and contact lenses once and for all, read on, as we have a lot of ground to cover in the following lines.
What is myopia?
Myopia is defined as a type of refractive error, i.e., an eye condition in which light rays entering the eye are not focused on the retina’s photoreceptor laminae, resulting in the production and interpretation of the light.resulting in the production and interpretation of a blurred image of the environment. In the case of myopia, objects that are close to the patient are seen clearly, but distant objects are out of focus and blurred. In the United States and Europe, the prevalence of myopia is estimated to be approximately 26%, which translates into 1.6 billion nearsighted people worldwide.
We can distinguish two main types of myopia:
- Simple myopiaSimple myopia: the graduation (visual quality of the patient) does not exceed 5-6 diopters and has a limited evolution up to 22-24 years of age.
- Pathological myopiaThe graduation exceeds 6 diopters and it is believed to be caused by a bad development of certain ocular segments.
What does surgery against myopia consist of?
First of all, it is necessary to point out that here we are going to focus on LASIK. we are going to focus on LASIK (Lasser Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis), which is the operation of choice in most cases in which myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism are to be corrected. It is valid for those patients who present between 1 and 12 diopters, that is, refractive defects with low to medium levels. It is a procedure of extraocular nature, wide range, effective and safe.
On the other hand, there are other much more specific techniques for patients with high refractive errors (12-14 diopters). In these cases, intraocular techniques are used, which are the following:
- Phakic lensesPhakic lenses: for patients under 40 years of age. It is based on the implantation of intraocular lenses.
- Lensectomyfor patients over 40 years of age. The patient’s transparent crystalline lens is removed and an intraocular lens is implanted.
When we talk about surgery against myopia, in almost all cases we are referring to LASIK, since it is the method to be followed in most patients (with an average of 20-29 years, according to certain sample studies). Below, we will tell you what this procedure consists of.
First of all, it is necessary to point out that it is not enough to go into a doctor’s office and ask for the operation. This is a very important procedure and, therefore, it is not enough to go to a doctor’s office and ask for the operation, multiple tests must be performed on the patient to confirm that he or she is a suitable candidate for the patient.. Preoperative and evaluative tests include the following:
- A dilation test to quantify the presence (or not) of ocular irregularities.
- Measurement of refractive error. As mentioned above, patients with severe errors may be referred for other types of procedures.
- Measurements of pupil diameter and corneal thickness.
- A topographic mapping of the cornea.
- A functional analysis of the tear duct.
All this is accompanied, naturally, by an informative talk to the patient with the pros/cons and preparation for the operation. Ultimately, it is the patient who must decide whether or not the process to be performed on his or her eyes is worthwhile or not.
We do not want to get lost in the particularities of this process, so we will say that it is based on the following points: a thin layer of corneal tissue is lifted, similar to a contact lens. Subsequently, the laser of choice is applied on it. After this, the tissue layer is repositioned, without the need for stitches.
Basically, part of the eye is “cut” with a specialized type of laser (femtosecond). (femtosecond), creating a corneal flap that is then partially detached (as if opening a window) so that the excimer laser can shape the corneal stroma to correct refractive errors. Finally, this flap is put back in place and naturally attached to the ocular structure. Yes, it’s like opening a flap in the eye so the laser can work and then closing it again. It’s that simple.
As you will see, this procedure is very simple. Therefore, it can be performed on an outpatient basis and does not require general anesthesia. It usually takes about 10-15 minutes to correct each eye and, in addition, the analgesic treatment is local. You may be surprised to learn that the laser application itself takes less than a minute, between 15 and 45 seconds. It’s hard to find a faster type of eye surgery than this.
We enter into a slightly more compromised area, since the effectiveness in 100% of cases does not seem to be completely assured, no matter how much private clinics try to convince us otherwise. According to studies carried out by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and the NEI (National Eye Institute), up to 43-46% of patients in certain sample groups showed sequelae after the interventioneven in procedures performed with the most accurate and state-of-the-art technologies.
Up to 35% of them showed halos in their vision, 30% showed dry eyes that were not present before and another 28% showed starbursts or flashes. This is not to say that the procedure is medical malpractice, but clearly there are certain caveats to be taken into account.
On the other hand, the U.S. National Library of Medicine tells us that it can take some patients 3-6 months to recover from the procedure. may take about 3-6 months to regain normal vision after surgery, during which time it may during which time they may experience blurred vision, photophobia and other symptoms. In addition, a small group of patients may require a second procedure to obtain the desired results. Depending on the underlying cause of the myopia (whether it is simple or pathological), it may also recur after surgery.
There are many considerations to be taken into account, so if you are thinking of undergoing LASIK, consult your ophthalmologist beforehand about the particularities of your case. It is better if he/she is in the public health sector and has no financial interest in you going to the outpatient clinic.
You can find LASIK surgeries for a base price of approximately 650 euros for each eye (about 1,200 euros, since it does not make sense to have the procedure done in only one of the two eyes). Even so, it is more common to find average prices of 1,600-2,000 euros, depending on the accompanying professional.1,600-2,000, depending on the professional who will accompany you in the process.
We understand that wearing glasses or contact lenses can be very annoying, because believe me, at least in this case, we speak from experience. Unfortunately, surgery against myopia is not always the absolute solution.You can’t be sure that your refractive defect will stay where it is and that you won’t see badly again several years after undergoing the procedure. Besides, in some specific cases side effects may appear that frankly leave you worse than you were before.
This is like everything else: each case is different. If a person has 10 diopters and without glasses cannot see a friend’s face at a distance of five feet, it is more than understandable that he or she undergoes this type of procedure. Even if the effect lasts about 10 years (or if it lasts a lifetime, all the better), it is 10 years with adequate vision for a price that is not too prohibitive. As we have said in previous lines, it is best to consult with your ophthalmologist about the options on the table before jumping into the arms of a private clinic.