Laser Eye Surgery for… Myopia (Short-Sightedness)
Over the last few decades, Laser Eye Surgery has rapidly evolved to become one of the most advanced and popular elective surgeries in the world. Millions of people are now enjoying the benefits of corrected vision thanks to continuous innovation and development in the field. Yet, there are many people who may still be unaware that Laser Eye Surgery could be the perfect option for them.
Today, Laser Eye Surgery can effectively treat a wide range of refractive errors (and extremely high prescriptions). For example, at London Vision Clinic, we routinely treat patients with many errors, including hyperopia, astigmatism, presbyopia and myopia.
What is Myopia?
Myopia – known more commonly as short-sightedness – is the most common refractive error, affecting approximately 22% of the global population. This number is expected to rise in the coming years with experts predicting myopia prevalence will affect up to 5 billion people by 2050.
Short-sightedness occurs when an abnormally shaped cornea or eye causes light to be directed ineffectively into the eye. For example, in people with myopia, the cornea or eye is too long or too steep. As a result, light isn’t focused directly onto the retina where it should be. Instead, it is focused on a point in front of the retina and so, the image sent to the brain becomes blurred.
This blurriness mostly affects distance vision, meaning that objects that are a distance away – such as street signs and bus numbers – cannot be distinguished clearly. On the other hand, people with short-sightedness may have perfectly good near vision.
In the video below, Mr Glen Carp explains: What is Myopia?
There are a number of forms of myopia, but the most common are physiological myopia, pathological myopia, and acquired myopia.
Physiological myopia is by far the most common form of short-sightedness. It is a simple mismatch between the length of the eyeball and the focusing power of the lens and cornea. Physiological myopia normally begins to develop in childhood between the ages of five and ten but continues to worsen until the eyes stop growing.
Pathological myopia is much less common. It starts out as physiological myopia but does not stabilise with age. In fact, in pathological myopia, the eye continues to enlarge at an abnormal rate. This form of myopia is a complex condition and, while Laser Eye Surgery may help, effective treatment may be more complicated.
Acquired myopia occurs after infancy. It is often linked to other conditions such as uncontrolled diabetes or certain forms of cataracts.
How Does Laser Eye Surgery Treat Myopia?
The general basis of Laser Eye Surgery is the process of changing the shape of the cornea in order to allow light to be refracted into the eye more efficiently. In the case of myopic, or short-sighted, patients, the shape of the cornea is corrected to ensure that light no longer focuses too short of the retina.
All of these procedures maintain the general basis of Laser Eye Surgery described above; however, they access the cornea in a different way. Nonetheless, in each procedure, the surgeon will use a high-precision laser to remove corneal tissue and draw it out of the eye.
Laser Eye Surgery is, therefore, able to treat myopic patients by removing the refractive error and improving their distance vision. In the vast majority of cases, this means that patients are able to wave “goodbye” to their pesky external visual aids and enjoy a life free from glasses. However, some patients over a certain age may also have presbyopia to contend with. If this is the case, they may also benefit from PRESBYOND® Laser Blended Vision.
Alternative Treatment Options for Myopia
Since its conception around four decades ago, Laser Eye Surgery has become a safe and effective procedure that is suitable for many people. But there are a number of factors that can affect a person’s suitability for treatment.
For example, a person’s eye health, the thickness of their cornea, dry eyes, and the presence of other health conditions must all be considered before treatment. If a patient is found to be unsuitable for Laser Eye Surgery, however, alternative treatments may be considered.
In most cases of myopia, ophthalmologists traditionally prescribe glasses and/or contact lenses. This means that Laser Eye Surgery is the ideal solution for many patients. However, in the case of extremely high prescriptions (those beyond -14 dioptres), we usually recommended intra-ocular lenses (IOLs).
Intraocular lenses are artificial lenses that are implanted inside the eye, just behind the pupil. These lenses may be referred to based on the type of lens used. For example, IOLs, phakic IOLs, implantable lenses, clear lens extraction or exchange (CLE), intra-corneal lens implants, Artisan® lenses, Prelex® lenses, RLR or lens replacement surgery.
In the video below, Mr Glenn Carp explains how intraocular lenses work as an alternative to Laser Eye Surgery for myopic patients.
Luckily, ongoing developments in Laser Eye Surgery mean that the vast majority of myopic patients are suitable for Laser Eye Surgery. In fact, at London Vision Clinic, we are able to treat around 98% of people who come to see us. Our resources, from world-renowned surgeons to state-of-the-art technology allow us to produce results that we are proud of.
If you are interested in Laser Eye Surgery to finally address your myopia, get in touch with one of our clinic coordinators today. Alternatively, Book a Consultation and get ready to say “goodbye” to short-sightedness.