Traditionally, people who needed corrective ‘surgery’ were given a pair of glasses. Later they also had the option of contact lenses to replace spectacles. Now there is a third option – laser eye surgery.
However laser eye surgery is being advertised as a panacea for just about all eye conditions. The problem is though that the new technology is not suitable for everyone. Many people would be better sticking with what they use already.
That’s certainly the view of Dr Catharine Chisholm, president of the British Contact Lens Association.
But what are the benefits to laser eye surgery. Without doubt for those who it would be suitable – mainly those who are below 50 and don’t have a pre-existing medical condition – laser surgery offers the chance to stop wearing contact lenses or spectacles altogether.
It also has a benefit for people involved in sport who have to wear spectacles or lenses. As Mr CT Pillai, an expert in laser surgery told reporters: “[It is] the best solution for treating a wide range of vision problems.”
He added: “Vision correction treatment is often recommended to older people as an alternative to wearing varifocal glasses because it eliminates the sense of imbalance caused by varifocals and greatly reduces the risk of falling.”
For those who enjoy playing sport but are forced to wear some form of corrective apparatus this last point is very apt.
Contact lenses also have one other (albeit minor problem) – they can fall out easily forcing all manner of secondary problems. But Dr. Chisholm believes that lenses have 3 main advantages. For instance, people feel more confident, although they would probably feel even more confident knowing they don’t have to wear anything.
Dr. Chisholm also suggests that they are far better than wearing glasses simply because they move with the eyes. And third, contact lenses don’t steam up.
On balance, laser surgery is probably the best solution, but as stated earlier it isn’t suitable for everyone. So in a way, it is a false choice. For many the choice can only be between contact lenses and glasses.