When your vision starts to become impaired it can be very confusing these days to figure out which treatment to go ahead with. With the advent of laser eye surgery, the possible solution might be to go through with the procedure to correct your sight.
An optometrist does the analysis, diagnosis and then prescribes the medication or recommends the possible solution. If the recommended solution is surgery, an ophthalmologist carries it out and if its glasses or contact lenses then an optician steps in to do the design, verify and fit the visual aids. With that said, let’s delve into the raging debate of which is the best option between laser eye surgery and opticians. Do we have a standard to show what the best option for correcting eye problems should look like? Probably not hence it is only fair to look at the merits of each procedure in terms of effectiveness, cost and safety and also their major drawbacks before we draw a conclusion.
They are basically trained to fabricate and fit vision aids such as contact lens and glasses depending on the optometrist’s or physician’s prescription. How effective, safe and cost-efficient are the corrective lenses?
Acquiring glasses made specifically for your prescription can correct imperfect sight. Putting on glasses perfectly designed based on your prescription ensures that light is correctly focused at the back of the retina to ensure that images do not appear blurry. The weight and thickness of the glasses are also designed depending on how long or short-sighted you are. As one grows older, eye sight inevitably changes hence one might need to use two pairs of glasses, one for closer images and the other for distance vision.
There are also other types of lenses such as bifocal and multi-focal lenses. Bifocal lenses allow one to see both close up and distant images without changing the lenses. On the other hand, multi-focal lenses allow one to see nearby images, those at the middle and distant images (varifocal glasses).
They correct vision in the same way as the glasses. Some people would prefer contact lenses to glasses because they are almost invisible and lightweight while others find them quite the hassle when putting them on compared to glasses. There are two main types of contact lenses including the disposables which can be worn and discarded on daily basis and those that can be disinfected and re-used.
Contact lenses can be worn for longer periods however, it’s normally recommended by eye specials not to be worn overnight to reduce the risk of infection. There is a technique called orthokeratology that is occasionally used by some opticians whereby a hard contact lens is worn during the night. This is mainly to flatten the curvature of the cornea so that one can have a better sight during the day without the help of glasses or contact lens.
The optician enlightens you on the available choices and advises on the most suitable contact lens for you. Good eye hygiene is very important if you choose to wear contact lens to avoid eye infections.
Glasses and contact lenses are a safe bet considering that in some cases one might still need to use them if the surgery doesn’t go well. Some people might argue that glasses are cumbersome to carry around not to mention if you happen to lose your single pair. To be on the safe side always have a spare pair. On the other hand, contact lens users are at higher risk of getting an eye infection. Does this make the unsafe? No, instead it reminds the users that they are in full control of averting the chances of getting an infection. Allow you need to do is follow the instructions to the latter. From not sleeping in them to regularly cleaning them with the cleaning solution and replacing them after every 3 months.
Glasses and contact lenses are mainly for those individuals who do not want to worry about the visual outcome after surgery. They do not offer a permanent solution and may be expensive in the long run but still very effective.
Cost and Availability
If you are eligible for a pair of glasses, the cost varies depending on the frame of choice. The average cost for eye glasses is $196 although you can get some at as cheap as $8 and designer glasses going up to $600.On the other hand, the average cost for contact lenses can be averagely $240 per year although the cost varies. Additionally, it comes with non-monetary costs such as waking up at night to look for your glasses or contact lenses.
Laser Eye Surgery
This mainly involves the use of laser to burn away small sections of the cornea to correct the curvature so that light will be better focused on the retina. The procedure is generally carried out on out-patient basis hence the patient doesn’t need to stay at the hospital overnight. It is a 30 minute procedure and usually a local anesthesia is administered to numb the eyes. There are three main types of laser eye surgery including:
- LASIK (Laser in situ keratectomy)
The procedure uses laser to reshape the cornea by creating a smaller flap on the cornea. It’s mainly used to treat farsightedness, nearsightedness and also astigmatism.
- LASEK (Laser Epithelial Keratomileusis)
In this procedure, alcohol is used to loosen the cornea, so that the flap can be lifted .A laser is used to reshape the cornea then the flap is returned. The procedure allows more levels of myopia to be treated although it causes much discomfort and takes long to heal.
- PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy)
In this procedure, a small amount of the cornea surface is removed, laser is then used to remove the tissue before reshaping the cornea.
LASIK and LASEK are the most preferred procedure because they cause less discomfort and the healing process is much faster and less painful. It’s not completely possible to cure eye problems but at least 9 out of 10 people do experience a significant improvement in their sight. It is also important to note that just like any other surgery, laser eye surgery has its own fair share of complications. Some of them include:
- Reduced night vision.
- Dry eyes whereby you can lubricate your eyes using special eye drops.
- Removal of too much cornea which can result into long farsightedness.
- Experiencing a haze effect around bright areas.
Laser eye surgery is relatively safe considering the surgeons use better screening techniques to churn out the best candidates for the surgery. It is not considered around 100% safe because each individual has unique imperfections. But even with great technological milestones, some of the post-surgery complications are inevitable. To bring the complication to a bare minimum, it’s imperative that one picks out the best surgeon out there.
With major advances in the laser correction technology, statistics show that there is a great improvement in visual acuity of laser eye surgery patients. There is a 20/20 acuity achievement among the patients or even more which can be considered such a huge milestone. Some of the patients however do experience reduced vision which might necessitate a second surgery or part-time usage of glasses.
Compared to a lifetime of glasses or contact use, laser eye surgery is a long term investment in your vision. It can averagely cost $2100 per eye. Most surgeons are however making it affordable by allowing monthly payments .In as much as not everybody can afford it compared to glasses and contact lenses, its efficiency can never be overlooked.
Clearly, each option has its benefits and also risks. Regardless of the option that you are going to choose, the practitioner should enlighten you on the expected complications. It’s imperative that you first seek an unbiased opinion from your optometrist before considering any of them. The most important thing is not to make a blind choice but get educated on the available options and receive services at the highest possible level.