What LASIK surgery can and cannot correct

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Laser eye surgery has several benefits. It improves your quality of life – if you were previously dependent on prescription glasses and contact lenses, it can help you no longer need them. Thus, giving you the ultimate freedom for your eyes. No more squinting to read better!

However, understanding whether you are suitable for lasik surgery is vital. There are certain eye-related problems that can be treated without lasik surgery. Here’s what this surgery can and cannot treat:

What it can treat:

Myopia (nearsightedness)

If you can see objects and read text near to you but cannot see far away, you have myopia. It is reported that one in three people are nearsighted, making it a common eye condition. Common symptoms include squinting to read text clearly, frequent headaches usually caused by eye strain, and struggling to see clearly when driving at night. After taking an eye exam, the optometrist may suggest that you wear prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses. This will not treat your eyes but allow you to see clearly and not put too much strain on your eyes. However, laser eye surgery is one of the best treatments for nearsightedness and can help you no longer need your glasses or contact lenses again.

Hyperopia (farsightedness)

Hyperopia occurs when you can see far objects but struggle to see near objects clearly. One may struggle to read text on a classroom board or see the subtitles clearly when watching a movie but the reading text on a billboard may be slightly easier. About 10 million people are reported to suffer from farsightedness in South Africa – this condition causes the eyes to tire more easily and may cause one to develop headaches frequently when reading a lot or using computer screens. LASIK and PRK are effective procedures you may consider correcting and treating farsightedness.

Astigmatism

If you are nearsighted or farsighted, you have some form of astigmatism. It is believed that about three in 10 people have some form of astigmatism. Common symptoms include blurry or distorted vision, headaches, eye strain, poor night vision and excessive squinting. Many people do not know that LASIK can treat astigmatism and has effectively done so for several years.

What it cannot treat

Cataracts

Cataracts are known to make vision foggy or cloudy. This can affect your vision and can appear as if you are looking through a dirty windscreen. Cataracts can worsen over time and are commonly found in those who are older than 65 years, however, people of all age groups can still develop cataracts. During cataract surgery, the eye’s lens is replaced, while LASIK surgery corrects and alters the cornea, therefore, LASIK surgery cannot treat cataracts. Cataract surgery is the best way to treat cataracts and patients are provided with a mild sedative to relieve any anxiety and prevent discomfort. An ophthalmologist can complete the surgery in 20 to 30 minutes.

Keratoconus (KC)

Keratoconus is a result of a thinning disorder of the cornea which can cause abnormal bulging of the cornea. As the cornea progressively thins, the patient will experience an increase in shortsightedness and astigmatism. As a result of this, one would frequently need to change their spectacles or contact lenses. It is believed that about 50 to 200 of every 100 000 people have KC. Common symptoms include seeing a halo around lights, sensitivity to light and itchy eyes which can cause eye pain. This leads to frequent spectacle change. A common finding in keratoconus is the loss of collagen in the cornea.

iSurgeon can diagnose and treat KC – once it is stabilised, your options include wearing spectacles, contact lenses, having an Intracorneal Ring Segments, Implantable Collamer lens and therapeutic PRK.