The risks associated with corrective laser surgery need to be considered
Corrective laser surgery has taken off in the last 20 years, becoming one of the most popular - if most expensive - vision correction options. But the proliferation of the corrective eye surgery technique does not make it a panacea for myopia.
Laser eye surgery complications can be extremely damaging - leading to permanent damage in the worst instances - and therefore careful consideration of the laser surgery options available to an individual is essential.
The UK's National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) has warned not just patients, but doctors and ophthalmologists that Corrective laser surgery can be a risky procedure and patient-by-patient assessment is vital if laser eye surgery problems are to be avoided.
Corrective laser surgery: So what are the risks?
Unlike non-invasive vision correction options - such as Ortho K's overnight contact lenses - Corrective laser surgery, by its very nature, has more inherent risk associated with it.
One of the most common risks associated with Corrective laser surgery is that a person's vision can actually be made worse. Some studies have shown thatlaser eye surgery can reduce the quality of a person's eyesight by as much as 20 per cent. And unlike Ortho K corrective lenses, in some instances this process is irreversible.
What's more, it is uncommon for Corrective laser surgery to be 100 per cent effective, with people often left slightly short-sighted or long-sighted following the procedure. While the difference can often be small, certain tasks, like driving at night, can be made much more difficult as a result of Corrective laser surgery.
In some cases that corneal flap cut ahead of actual Corrective laser surgery can become infected - causing significant problems further down the line. And in the most extreme cases, ecstasia can be a problem. Following Corrective laser surgery, ecstasia, which results in the thinning of the cornea, can lead to complete sight loss.
What are the alternatives to laser eye surgery?
The most obvious alternatives to Corrective laser surgery are the use of glasses or standard daily contact lenses. However, while they avoid the potentially permanent side effects of Corrective laser surgery, in some cases they are an unsuitable method of vision correction.
Both glasses and contact lenses are unsuitable for professional athletes, they can amplify the problem of dry eyes and they have to be thoroughly cleaned and maintained. And in the case of contact lenses, they have to be changed regularly making them an unsuitable alternative to Corrective laser surgery in many cases. Over-wearing contact lenses can cause considerable amounts of eye irritation and actually damage a person's eyesight, making it one of the factors that can lead to a short-sighted person considering Corrective laser surgery.
There is a vision correction option, however, that boasts all the benefits of Corrective laser surgery without lumbering myopia sufferers with the well-documented laser eye surgery risks. And that solution is Ortho K's overnight contact lenses - which gently reshape a person's eyes while they sleep.
Unlike Corrective laser surgery, the process is entirely reversible; but like surgery they offer perfect vision during the day without the need for contact lenses or glasses. What's more, because they actively reshape a wearer's eye, as opposed to refocusing light before it lands on the retina, people will have a single prescription for their entire life - making Ortho K lenses a cost effective alternative to Corrective laser surgery.