There are lots of adverts these days on the TV promoting laser eye surgery. However not everyone is suitable. What’s more, the adverts (perhaps for obvious reasons) do not emphasise this fact.
To start with anyone who has an illness such as diabetes may not be suitable for treatment. The reason is that the disease may also be associated with eye problems. Diabetics must have a yearly examination which looks for signs of retinopathy, which if overlooked can lead to blindness.
Consequently, only eyes which are ‘healthy’ are considered suitable for laser eye surgery using LASIK technology.
Similarly, experts say that anyone over the age of 50 may also not be suitable for treatment. Eyes change around this time and are more susceptible to age related problems such as cataracts and macrodegeneration. While these are normally found in people who are approaching old age – 80s and 90s, nevertheless changes are taking place in people in their 50s.
If this is the case eye experts will offer alternative treatments whereas LASIK treatment is aimed at the younger generation.
What is LASIK treatment?
Basically, the eye surgeon creates a flap or an opening in the cornea. By repositioning this flap tissue thus exposed underneath is then treated with a laser gun thus reshaping the cornea to improve the patient’s eyesight.
For most people the surgery is not painful, but recovery does take a short while since the eyes can become sensitive to light. Surgeons recommend wearing dark sunglasses for a few days after the operation.
If pain is experienced the usual painkillers are all that’s needed to be taken.
As well as LASIK treatment, surgeons also offer something called LASEK treatment. Both procedures are similar but the latter involves only the removal of epithelium, a thin layer that covers the eye. It is used instead of LASIK if the cornea is too thin.
However there are downsides to LASEK. Patients will suffer a degree of discomfort and the recovery period is longer.
Although it is more effective than LASIK, LASEK treatment is generally only recommended for those who work in organisations where there are strict regulations for eyesight. These include the Fire Brigade and the Police.