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Laser eye surgery

In recent years, doctors have adopted new surgical techniques to correct eyesight and reduce the need for wearing glasses. Most often, the surgery involves reshaping the cornea the transparent surface at the front of the eye using a type of laser known as an excimer laser. Different techniques are used to correct short sight (myopia), long sight (hypermetropia) andastigmatism. aser refractive surgery is generally considered non!essential, therefore it"s usually unavaila#le on the $%&. 'he (oyal )ollege of *phthalmologists (()*) recommends that doctors doing the surgery should #e fully trained ophthalmologists and have additional specialist training in refractive surgery. +t pu#lishes a detailed ",atient"s -uide to .xcimer aser (efractive &urgery", as well as advice on other refractive surgery techniques. 'he guide explains the types of surgery availa#le, the advantages and disadvantages, what happens during the surgery, results and complications. +t also contains advice on how to choose a surgeon, and the procedures that surgeons should follow.

Types of surgery
%ere"s a guide from 'he )ollege of *ptometrists on the most common types of laser surgery/ LASIK (laser in situ keratomileusis) 0&+1 has #een performed since the mid!2334s, and is the most common procedure in the 51. Most types of refractive error can #e corrected with 0&+1, #ut it may not #e suita#le for correcting high prescriptions (high degree of short! sightedness). &urgeons cut across the cornea and raise a flap of tissue. 'he exposed surface is then reshaped using the excimer laser, and the flap is replaced. PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) ,(1 has #een performed since the late 2364s, #ut since the development of 0&+1 and 0&.1, it"s now mainly used for correcting low prescriptions (low degree of short!sightedness). 'he cornea is reshaped #y the excimer laser without a flap of tissue #eing cut. LASEK (laser epithelial keratomileusis) 0&.1 is similar to ,(1 #ut the surface layer (epithelium) of the cornea is retained as a flap. (etaining the epithelium is thought to prevent complications and speed up healing. avefront!gui"e" LASIK 7avefront!guided 0&+1 reduces the natural irregularities of the eye (which can cause light rays to focus incorrectly), and improve the visual result of the surgery. 8our optometrist can discuss with you the various methods of correcting your vision, and the advantages and disadvantages of spectacles, contact lenses and refractive surgery.

hat are the risks#

)omplications occur in less than 9: of cases, #ut check with your consultant that he has outlined all the risks. &ome people have a pro#lem with dry eyes in the months after surgery. 0rtificial tear supplements might #e needed in the long term. Many patients have experienced glare or halo effects when driving at night, particularly ;ust after treatment. 'his is more likely if a high correction has #een made (correcting a high degree of long! or short!sightedness), #ut is rarely severe. +n rare cases, too much thinning of the eye wall can make the shape of the eye unsta#le after treatment. &evere loss of vision is very unusual, #ut some patients may need corneal surgery or hard contact lenses to restore their vision. <ind out how frequently your surgeon has had complications, and why. 8ou can find more information a#out the risks associated with having laser eye surgery in the ,atient"s -uide to .xcimer aser (efractive &urgery, pu#lished #y 'he (oyal )ollege of *pthamologists (()*). 8ou can also find information a#out the risks involved in the appropriate $+). guidance.