Myopia is the technical name given to short-sightedness.
The commonest cause of myopia is the eyeball becoming too long. Excessive growth results in the cornea curving too steeply, the length of the eyeball increasing and vision becoming impaired. The measurement used to distinguish between degrees of myopia is a dioptre (D) and denotes the focusing ability of the eye. Myopia which measures anything less than -3.0D is considered mild. Anything over -6.0D is considered to be high, and is termed high myopia.
Usually, once the excessive growth has stopped and the myopia has stabilised, we are able to compensate for it using glasses. If the myopia is of a high degree then it is not so simple. High myopia, also called pathological myopia, is a degenerative condition. If it doesn't stabilise, then difficult to simply treat with glasses.
Myopia causes problems by focusing light n front of the retina. This means that all objects which are far away appear blurred and unclear. It is possible for myopia to develop to the point that even focusing on objects right in front of your face can become difficult.
There are now many ways that dependency on glasses due to myopia can be reduced. Each of these myopia treatments works in a slightly different way and are therefore treatments can be tailored in a customised manner for each individual.
Glasses and Contact Lenses
Glasses are the and easiest option. They do not need implantation and are relatively cheap and easy to acquire and are easily changeable.
The benefits of LASIK include:
- Very quick recovery time
- Very high rate of success
- The ability to correct a very wide spectrum of refractive errors
- Little pain or discomfort
It is possible to experience some side effects following LASIK surgery. Symptoms which you may experience include dry eye, halos at night, and glare.
Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK)
PRK works in a very similar way to LASIK surgery in that it uses a laser to reshape the cornea. By reshaping the cornea the light is focused correctly instead of being directed to the front of the cornea. The difference between PRK and LASIK surgery is the way that the surgeons gain access to the cornea. LASIK surgery creates a flap. PRK surgery uses an alcohol solution to remove what are known as the epithelial cells from the surface of the cornea.
PRK surgery presents a viable alternative to LASIK surgery and makes laser treatment possible for those with thin corneas. Due to the process of removing the epithelial cells, the recovery time following a PRK procedure is much longer than for LASIK surgery and also much more uncomfortable.
LASEK surgery is effectively a combination of both LASIK and PRK surgery. In order to gain access to the cornea, LASEK surgery uses an alcoholic solution to weaken the cells on the surface of the cornea. Once these cells have been weakened a very thin flap is made to allow access to the corneal tissue.
This is an effective form of myopia treatment and has the potential to correct more severe myopia than PRK.
Implantable Contact Lenses
Implantable contact lenses present an altogether different solution to myopia. These lenses are designed to be implanted to correct the effects of myopia. For this procedure we can use two different types of lens. Firstly, Visian ICLs™ are designed to be carefully implanted between the natural lens of the eye and the iris. Alternatively, the Verisyse IOL™ is designed to be implanted just behind the cornea. Both these lenses, once in place, should go completely unseen and unfelt by the patient.
As with any surgery, there is a small risk of various complications. During the implantation of an intraocular lens (IOL) it is possible that the retina could become detached or that the cells inside the cornea may become irreparably damaged. It is also possible for the eye to become inflamed or infected, or, in extreme cases, affected by cataracts. Following the operation patients will also have relatively short healing times as well as having the option of reversing the procedure if circumstances become complicated, or change in any way.
These implanted lenses, sometimes referred to as Phakic IOLs, provide a viable solution to those wanting a long term, permanent solution to high myopia. They have the potential to greatly reduce the patient's dependence on glasses as well as improving their vision across all distances.
The procedure for implantable lenses is very similar to the implantation of IOLs following cataract surgery. The major difference is that, to correct myopia, the eye retains its natural lens.
Implantable lens surgery is often preferred when other myopia treatments are considered unsuitable for a patient. Most commonly, implantable lenses are recommended for patients who either have very thin corneas, or if their myopia is between -7.00D and -20.00D (diopters). One benefit of using implantable lenses is that, following their implantation, if possible, LASIK procedures can be used to further refine the patients corrected vision.
The Lenses We Offer:
The Verisyse is a phakic IOL which since 2004 has had FDA approval (Food and Drug Administration). It is a lens which is recommended for the treatment of myopia between -5.00D and -20.00D (diopters) and is made from a plastic called PMMA. To have this lens implanted you must be over the age of 21.
ICL stands for Implantable Collamer Lens. This model has been approved by the FDA since 2005 and has proven to be very popular. The major advantages of the Visian ICL is that, firstly, it is made of a biocompatible material called collagen, and secondly that it can be folded. The ability of the lens to be folded means that the incisions into the eye can be smaller. This reduces the recovery times significantly. Like LASIK surgery, patients can expect to recover in a single day following the operation. The lens is recommended for those over 21 who suffer with myopia between -3.00D and -20.00D (diopters).
If you have been affected by any of the symptoms mentioned above, please don't hesitate to give us a call.
We have a team of experts on stand-by who are ready to take your call at our Manchester (0161 907 2685) Clinic or our Blackpool (01253 308 031) Clinic.