Common Eye Ailments Treated By Laser Eye Surgery

LASIK eye surgeon correcting myopia

Since its start in the 1950’s, corrective eye surgery has undergone an extensive technological change. This has allowed for the development of treatment options for those with common vision problems, such as farsightedness, nearsightedness and astigmatism. More complex diseases of the eye, such as glaucoma and retinopathy are also treatable with the enhancement of LASIK surgery. Over a million LASIK eye procedures are performed each year and LASIK is the number one procedure performed in the United States.

Myopia (Nearsightedness)

Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a common eye problem caused by a longer than normal eyeball. Individuals with myopia are able to see objects that are close up clearly but those that are far away become blurry. Myopia is a hereditary condition that is usually apparent in childhood and continues to worsen into adulthood, before stabilizing. The use of eye glasses, contacts or surgery, such as Lasik, can all help to correct myopia. Moving away from the computer screen, stretching the eyes, taking off your glasses for a short period and eye exercises can help prevent future eye strain and the risk of developing myopia.

Hyperopia (Farsightedness)

Hyperopia, or farsightedness, occurs when rays of light enter the eye behind the retina, instead of directly on it. The eyeball of an individual who is farsighted appears shorter than normal. Farsighted people typically have eye strain, may squint and may suffer from frequent headaches. Hyperopia can be corrected with the use of plus numbered eye glasses, contacts or refractive surgery such as LASIK or CK. Although hyperopia cannot be prevented, early detection can prevent years of eye strain and eye conditions such as amblyopia and strabismus.

Astigmatism

Astigmatism occurs when the cornea of the eye is oblong shaped instead of the normal sphere shape. This abnormality causes light to focus on two points located in the back of the eye, instead of one. Common symptoms of astigmatism include blurred vision, eye strain and headaches. Mild cases of astigmatism can be corrected with eye glasses or contacts. More severe cases may lead to vision eye surgery, such as Lasik. Unfortunately, astigmatism is a heredity trait present at birth and cannot be prevented.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is caused by the later stages of diabetes when new blood vessel growth begins to cover the retina. Changes in blood sugar levels can damage blood vessels in the retina, causing fluid leak or bleeding. When the retina begins to swell, this is the early stages of diabetic retinopathy. Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy include double vision, difficulty reading or doing close work and eye floaters. Diabetic retinopathy can be treated with laser eye surgery to destroy new growth of blood vessels on the retina and seal off leaking vessels. It can be prevented by following several steps, such as controlling your blood sugar levels, control of your blood pressure, yearly eye exams, reduced cholesterol, adequate exercise and avoidance of smoke and dangerous activities.

Age Related Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is associated with aging, as well as a developing gene known as factor H (CFH). Oxygen-starved, deteriorating retina cells trigger this eye disease which is activated by a protein known as vascular endothelial growth factor, or VEGF. Symptoms of age related macular degeneration includes a painless, slow loss of vision, shadowy or blurry areas in vision or distorted vision. If vision lost is already present, complete recovery of vision is unlikely. However, surgery is an option that may help restore some vision. Basic guidelines that can prevent or slow down the progression of age related macular degeneration includes eating plenty of leafy, dark vegetables, taking a multi-vitamin and mineral supplement, eat fish or fish-oil supplement, exercise regularly, reduce carbohydrates, have regular eye exams, lower blood pressure and stop smoking.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is the disease of a major nerve, known as the optic nerve, which is necessary for vision. Elevated pressure in the eye and damage to the optic nerve are the leading causes of glaucoma. There are two types of glaucoma, open-angle glaucoma and acute closed-angle glaucoma. In open-angle glaucoma there are initially no symptoms until patients begin to lose vision but without treatment, complete blindness will occur. Common symptoms of acute closed-angle glaucoma include severe pain, vomiting, nausea, blurred vision and a halo effect when in the light. Glaucoma is typically treated using medications, such as eye drops, in mild cases. In more severe cases, surgery may be needed. Many risk factors, such as family history, race and age, cannot be prevented but with regular eye exams, the disease may be caught early.

Cataracts

As we age, the lenses in our eyes begin to change, forming cataracts. Although no sure explanation has been found, studies suggest that ultraviolet light exposure may be the cause of cataract development. Cataracts begin small at first and usually result in mild blurred or cloudy vision. Lights will reflect more of a glare and colors may not appear as bright as before. Treatment for cataracts includes surgery and is usually very effective in restoring all vision. Nearly 9 out of 10 patients who undergo cataract surgery regain vision, somewhere between 20/20 and 20/40. While there is no proven method of preventing cataracts, there are numerous ways to slow the progression. Physicians recommend that patients should not smoke, wear sunglasses and a hat while in the sun, avoid tanning booths or sunlamps, eat a diet rich in vitamins C and E, limit alcohol intake and keep their diabetes under control.

  • Cataract Overview: Here you will find general information about cataracts and nutritional supplements and lifestyle changes to consider
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Lasik eye surgery is the commonly performed procedure as it has many advantages over other vision correction procedures, including lack of pain after the procedure and fixed vision the day after treatment. Before deciding to undergo LASIK eye surgery, talk to your doctor about the risks and type of correction needed for your specific condition.

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