Ultimate guide to eye surgery at Optimax

23 April 2019

Author: Kate Green

Ultimate guide to understanding laser eye surgery and cataract surgery

A guide to all of our treatment options


Do you rely on glasses or contacts to see properly? Have you been considering vision correction for a while but haven’t known how to go about it? We’ve got a full list of all our procedures in one place to help you determine which treatment is best for you and your eyes.


Laser eye surgery


Laser eye surgery involves reshaping your cornea to correct imperfections which prevent your eye from focusing properly. The middle layer of the cornea is the part which receives laser treatment, so the two techniques differ in the way in which the top layer is removed to access the middle section. The actual lasers used for both procedures are the same.


LASIK: This technique was developed around 20 years ago. The top layer of the cornea is lifted while the procedure is performed on the middle layer. It is then carefully replaced once the surgery is complete. It’s minimally-invasive and the recovery process is very quick. Most patients can go back to work within a couple of days.


LASEK: This technique was developed 40 years ago, and involves softening the top layer of the cornea before gently moving it to one side. The middle layer of the cornea is then treated with the laser, and the top layer is left to grow back over 4-5 days. The patient must wear a bandage lens for a few days following the procedure to protect the eyes and encourage healing. The recovery time is longer than LASIK, but the risk of dry eyes following the procedure is reduced.


With a shorter recovery time and minor discomfort, it’s no surprise that LASIK is more popular among patients than LASEK. LASEK is usually suggested for patients with thin corneas as, without needing to lift the cornea’s top layer, it reduces the risk of long-term damage. You’ll speak with an optometrist at your consultation who will be able to advise on the best treatment choice for you, but both procedures produce outstanding results.


Lens surgery


If laser eye surgery isn’t something you’re interested in, you might be more eligible for lens surgery. We offer two different types of lens procedures here: Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) and Implantable Contact Lenses (ICL).


Refractive lens exchange: This procedure is ideal for patients over the age of 40 as it can correct the need for reading glasses – something which typically becomes an issue when somebody enters their 40s. The eye’s natural lens is removed and is replaced with an artificial lens. This artificial lens can be either monofocal or multifocal, the latter allowing the patient to be able to focus on objects both near and far away. As the natural lens is removed during this procedure, a cataract cannot form later in life, meaning you effectively kill two birds with one stone with RLE.


Implantable contact lenses: Patients under the age of 40 who aren’t eligible for laser eye surgery are often the ideal candidates for ICL. The natural lens is left in the eye, with the artificial lens usually positioned in front of it, but behind the iris. Given that nothing is removed from the patient’s eye, the procedure is entirely reversible should that be desired later in life. If the patient has thin corneas, this is an excellent alternative to more invasive forms of eye surgery, as it doesn’t reduce corneal thickness in any way.


Cataract surgery:  Cataracts occur when the natural lens in a patient’s eye begins to cloud. This prevents light from passing and blurs the patient’s vision. It’s a condition which usually affects people in their 70s and becomes worse as time goes on, although cataracts can begin forming at any age. There’s no natural cure for cataracts, but cataract surgery is the most commonly performed surgery in the world, totalling over 18 million global procedures a year. The natural clouded lens in the eye is removed and is replaced with an Intraocular Lens Implant in exactly the same process as RLE, discussed above.


Eye health


Dry eyes treatment: Dry Eye Disease (or Dry Eye Syndrome) is a common condition where a person’s eyes aren’t producing enough tears and can feel itchy or gritty. Vision might be blurry and the person might feel especially sensitive to light. Causes can be anything from age and contact lenses, to excessive screen use and dry or cold climates. A lack of tears results in the eyes feeling dry or swollen. We offer a range of solutions for dry eyes, beginning with lifestyle adjustment advice, lid therapy, and artificial tear supplements. We also perform non-invasive soothing treatments to reduce dryness.


Blepharitis: This is a condition whereby the eyelids become swollen and sore, occasionally causing blurry vision. There may also be cysts on the eyelid which can be treated with gel supplements or lid therapy. As this is a long-term condition, we’ll set up a tailored treatment plan with you and track your recovery over regular appointments.


Cosmetic eye surgery: This is a procedure which is carried out under local anaesthetic. It is one of the most popular facial cosmetic surgeries around, involving the removal of excess skin, fat and muscle from around the eyes. It is particularly popular with older patients as eyelids grow more prominent with age, and they may wish to alter this. Within two weeks, the patient can wear contact lenses and makeup again, and the relatively quick recovery time is one of the factors that makes this procedure so popular.


Eyelid surgery: We also offer minor surgeries to correct small bumps on the skin around the eyes. Often, these are caused by a build-up of bacteria or by a blockage in the oil glands. Sometimes, depending on their position, they can irritate a person’s vision which is when it becomes necessary to remove them. The procedure is usually finished within 20 minutes and is performed under a local anaesthetic.


Corneal cross-linking: This is a procedure which treats Keratoconus, a condition affecting around 1 in 2,000 people. Keratoconic patients experience a conical shaped cornea, which gradually worsens over time and begins to interfere with their vision. Corneal cross-linking combines specialised eye drops and a UV light which reacts with the cornea’s collagen fibres, strengthening them in a way which mimics natural, age-related corneal stiffening. The procedure is usually painless and prevents most cases of Keratoconus from worsening.


Contact us!


Every patient is different and what’s suitable for someone may not be the best option for the next person. Get in touch with us to book a consultation. Our optometrists will check your eyes with a series of scans and tests, and talk in depth with you about the best treatment path. Start your Optimax journey today!


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