Understanding Treatment For Vision Problems
As one of our greatest assets, our vision has spurred the rise of several industries focused on keeping it in tip top condition.
Glasses, contact lenses, refractive surgery; if you have a vision problem you’re certainly not short of options, but understanding which is best for you is a whole other matter.
Let’s break down each of the above—specs; contacts; Laser Eye Surgery—and look specifically at how effective they are in treating three common vision problems—short-sightedness (myopia), long-sightedness (hyperopia), and presbyopia (ageing eyes).
Spectacles / Eyeglasses
Out of all forms of vision correction treatment, specs have been around the longest. They first made their appearance in the 13th century and have since exploded in popularity due to being a quick and flexible method of correcting a range of refractive errors.
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Glasses can correct short-sightedness, but depending on the degree of the problem they may prove inconvenient in times of activity or leisure e.g. when going to bed or swimming.
Glasses are often used as a treatment for long-sightedness. As the condition only presents problems during close-up work, many people turn to glasses initially as a temporary relief from squinting and eye strain.
Presbyopia (Ageing Eyes)
To target the effects of ageing eyes with glasses, an update in your prescription to bifocal, Varifocals or progressive addition lenses (PALs) is necessary. The drawback here is that in some cases you may need a combination of treatments to fully address the problems caused by presbyopia.
In recent years, the appeal of glasses has somewhat drifted from being a handy medical appliance, to being a piece of trendy fashion. This is in part thanks to Hollywood and celebrity culture, but it’s also due to the development of more effective forms of vision correction treatment, especially refractive surgery which yields more permanent results.
Many centuries after spectacles hit the scene, the first contact lenses—also made of glass—came along and shook up the vision correction market. Today, contacts are generally made from silicone-hydrogel and are used by over 30 million people in the US alone to correct refractive errors on a similar scale to that of glasses.
Contact lenses provide a welcome relief for those with myopia who find glasses to be limiting their field of vision and ability to engage in sports and other activities. Much like in the case of glasses, they are a great temporary solution, as without careful management they can cause irritation and lead to infections.
If you are long-sighted and have ever worn glasses, you will know the frustration that comes with realising you have forgot them in some place or other. Thankfully, with contact lenses you won’t feel the same frustration—at least until one falls out and you’re on your hands and knees searching for it!
Presbyopia (Ageing Eyes)
For those putting off wearing glasses due to a fear of admitting they’re getting old (my mum), bifocal contact lenses can be a great covert solution.
If you do opt for bifocals, it’s important to keep in mind they take longer to fit than regular contacts, and may not perform as well as you had hoped—particularly in extreme weather conditions or when exercising.
Contact lenses are on par with glasses in terms of performance, but depending on your preference may be less or more desirable. Although they are a more recent development in vision correction treatment, they do pose risks that were not present in wearing glasses due to being placed directly on the surface of the eye.
Laser Eye Surgery / Refractive Surgery
Compared to other forms of vision correction, Laser Eye Surgery is in its infancy. At the end of the last century we saw PRK/LASEK introduced in the UK, soon to be followed by LASIK, and more recently the revolutionary ReLEx SMILE procedure—first offered here at London Vision Clinic.
Today, Laser Eye Surgery is the most popular elective procedure in the world. With a range of treatments able to correct a variety of conditions and even the highest prescriptions, more and more people each year are deciding to have the surgery and live a life free of glasses and contacts.
Laser Eye Surgery offers a permanent solution to myopic symptoms. PRK/LASEK and LASIK are both effective forms of treatment which involve reshaping the cornea and changing the path of refracted light. Despite common myths surrounding Laser Eye Surgery, the procedures mentioned above actually come with less risk than with wearing contact lenses.
Those who suffer from hyperopia generally make great candidates for Laser Eye Surgery. Not only do patients see great improvements in their eyesight—with 98% of our long-sighted patients achieving 20/32 vision or better— but as the condition is associated with much frustration and stress, they also see a substantial increase in their quality of life.
Presbyopia (Ageing Eyes)
Here at London Vision Clinic we’ve pioneered a technique specifically for treating the effects of presbyopia—‘Laser Blended Vision’. The treatment works by slightly adjusting each eye, one for up close and intermediate and the other for distance and intermediate. The brain adapts and puts the two images together, giving you a clear image for both distance and up close.
The vision treatments mentioned above each have their strengths and their weaknesses. But when it comes to long term care for your eyesight—and seeing clearer than you ever have before—one treatment stands head and shoulders above the rest.
If you would like to book a consultation at London Vision Clinic, or find out more about the cost of our treatments, leave us a comment or give us a call us on 020 7224 1005.