Laser Applications and Ophthalmology

Is refractive surgery safe today? What should someone who wishes to undergo such a procedure know? Can presbyopia be corrected? These are questions that trouble people with vision problems and decide to undergo laser eye surgery. Ophthalmologist surgeon George Chronopoulos answers these questions.


eyeRefractive Surgery

Refractive surgery has brought a revolution in myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism correction. We are already in the third decade of laser use and we can really observe that precision and safety are already here. With the use of this impressive technology, we can forever eliminate our dependence on corrective glasses or contact lenses..

There are two methods of effective correction of high or low degrees of myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism: PRK and LASIK. The difference between these two methods lies in the fact that, in the first, the correction occurs on the surface of the cornea, while in the second in its interior. In PRK there is some minor discomfort the first 2-3 days, while in LASIK the discomfort is insignificant and eyesight restoration happens almost immediately, on the very first day. The final result is the same in both cases.

The Procedure

First of all, we are dealing with a procedure done not only for aesthetic reasons, but therapeutic as well, with which there is a definite change in the way of life. An important role in the patient's decision to do away with glasses and contact lenses plays the trust and relationship between doctor and patient. Equally important is to have thorough preoperative tests, which will tell us if the patient is eligible for a certain procedure.

Detailed and thorough preoperative tests ensure the success of the procedure, Dr. Chronopoulos underlines.

Timewise, the procedure lasts only a few minutes and it is never longer than 5 or 6 minutes for both eyes. The doctor uses local anesthesia and the patient feels no pain. After the procedure it is advisable for the patient to sleep for a couple of hours and to avoid washing his hair with the eyes open, driving on the first day, swimming for the next four weeks and exerting himself for about a week; in any case, he should be in close contact with his doctor. It is important to note that the correction is permanent and in the very few cases where some degrees of the condition remain, then an additional laser procedure can be done to achieve full correction.

Regarding complications, the 25 years of laser use allow us to say that the possibility of serious complications is negligible. Even those rare complications can be treated. We are in a position to say with absolute certainty that the chances of infection from contact lenses are more than the possible complications of refractive surgery.

What happens with presbyopia?

Presbyopia today is outside the scope of refractive surgery and is the field where the ophthalmologists' interest is focused. The problem lies in the fact that, if we try to correct presbyopia, we unavoidably interfere with distant vision as well, which results in the patient's not having good eyesight in the distance; so we enter a cycle of procedures without end and with no effective result for the patient. Therefore, as things stand, says Dr. Chronopoulos, we are not yet in a position to say that we have found a solution to correct presbyopia. We would like to believe that technology and ongoing scientific research will lead at some point to a solution for the very annoying problem with presbyopia, that is indeed troubling for a great many patients.

Published in the newspaper


on 3 March 2007




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