Eye sight is arguably one of the most important senses to human beings, followed closely by hearing. This is based on the fact that in order to be able to navigate the environment, find food and avoid predators, the sense of sight is needed to be able to perform these necessary life functions.
One of the advances of medicine is a greater understanding of the anatomy, physiology and function of the eye. A greater understanding of how the eye performs its functions allows healthcare professionals to use safer drugs, more efficient surgeries with faster recovery times. The concept of impaired vision lies in the physical properties of the eye. To be able to understand how the therapies work in correcting the eye, let’s have a basic understanding on the anatomy of the eye.
The eye is like a camera. It has a lens and a film (the retina). To be able to process a clear image, the object of interest must be precisely projected onto the film. The camera adjust the lens to adjust the amount of light to focus so that the image is clear. The eye has muscles that allow the iris to contract and expand as needed to adjust the amount of light needed. However, unlike a camera which an easy to repair machine when the focusing power is diminished, the eye requires help in order to be able to focus images clearly.
One way to improve vision therefore would be to place a secondary lens i.e. glasses that would allow light to be refracted to properly place the objects in interest into focus onto the retina. Different kinds of eye conditions like myopia or hyperopia have different explanations. In myopia or near sightedness, the eyeball is elongated and thus the lens will project the object in front of the retina making the image blurry. In order to correct this visual defect, your optometrist will prescribe concave lens tailored to your grade to improve your vision, projecting the object precisely on your retina. The same can be said of that of hyperopia or far-sightedness. However, in this case, the eyeball is short thus causing the image to be projected into the back of the retina also causing blurred vision. The optometrist will then use convex lens to correct that visual defect.
However, with the advent of new technology, new operative procedures have been developed to take correction to the next level, in this case, a more permanent solution. Enter refractive eye surgery, it’s been a holy grail for centuries as the earliest eye surgery were either to remove cataracts or to simply remove a ruptured eyeball. Refractive eye surgery uses lasers to reshape the cornea. There are many nuances into the different techniques used to correct vision but the most popular is the LASIK or Laser assisted In Situ Keratomileusis. The cornea’s refraction index is altered after careful measurement to allow the lens and cornea to work in conjunct to project the image on the retina without the need for external lenses or glasses.
The procedure is highly specialized and a trained or skilled healthcare professional will perform the procedure to ensure safe and efficient surgery. The procedure is short and takes about 30 minutes and then a few days of recovery. The eye is quite sensitive for the next few days as a local inflammatory response occurs. But after a few days, the inflammation subsides and the person will adapt to a new world of clarity.
A word of caution however as this procedure is not for everyone. The person must have a thorough physical examination to check for comorbidities that may affect the eyes in the future. Disease such as dry eye, keratoconus or even metabolic diseases like diabetes mellitus come into play. As there are reports that after a successful surgery, the incidences of dry eyes are increased. This is a bothersome condition that leads to a decreased quality of life in patients. Patients may want to frequently rub their eyes due to such conditions. Also glaucoma needs to be assessed as these surgeries may complicate into increased intraocular pressure which could lead to blindness.
So there you have it! Before getting your eyes fixed, have yourself checked by a healthcare professional well versed in the matters of the eye. You may need that sharp 20/20 vision in one of your adventures these days.