Posted March 11, 2014
The eyes have been described as the windows to the world. Historically, when people experienced blurred vision due to cataracts or refractive problems, few treatment options were available. Today, advancements in technology and eye surgery have improved the vision of thousands of Americans.
Types of refractive procedures
Surgical treatment options help improve vision. During refractive surgery, doctors can change the shape of the cornea to allow the eyes to focus clearly. Currently, there are four types of refractive surgery techniques:
Astigmatic keratotomy (AK) – A surgical procedure used to correct astigmatism; AK may be used in combination with LASIK or PRK; surgeons typically make one or two incisions to help the cornea relax and become more round in shape
Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) – Eye surgeons use a laser to reshape the cornea to correct mild to moderate cases of nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism
Laser in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK) – Surgeons use a laser to reshape the underlying corneal tissue, allowing light into the eye and retina; used to correct nearsighted, farsighted or astigmatism
Radial keratectomy (RK) – Once the most frequently used surgery to correct nearsightedness, with advancements in LASIK and PRK; it has become less popular
Advancements for cataract treatment
As the eyes age, cataracts may form and make vision cloudy. About 50 percent of people between the ages of 64 and 74, and 70 percent of those ages 75 and older, develop some degree of cloudiness in their vision. If the condition worsens, they may be candidates for cataract surgery. During this procedure, the cloudy lens is removed and replaced with a clear artificial lens.
Recent technology innovations are helping to improve cataract surgery:
- A new ORA device can be attached to the surgical microscope, enabling surgeons to be more precise while operating on the eye
- ReLACS (refractive laser-assisted cataract surgery) is a new cataract procedure that uses a femtosecond laser, and other tests, to improve surgery outcomes
Sometimes after cataract surgery, a leak may develop around the incision. Until now, eye surgeons used stitches to close the opening. However, recently the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the use of a medicine gel to seal up these wounds. This substance is designed to gradually break down over a week’s time, and particles are gradually cleared away by the eye’s tears.
Read these posts to learn more about LASIK surgery and cataracts: