what is laser eye surgery Armadale

What Is Laser Eye Surgery? – What To Expect

The eye is an amazing organ with multiple parts all working together to receive light, convert it to neural signals, and send this signal onwards to certain areas of the brain for visual processing. However, when even just one of these anatomical components doesn’t quite function as it’s supposed to, we end up with various eye diseases, vision problems, and, for millions around the globe, refractive error. Although the term ‘laser eye surgery’ can refer to not only laser surgery for vision correction but also for the treatment of eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, many people will equate laser surgery with the idea of surgical correction of refractive error. So, what is laser eye surgery and what can it do for you?

 

Starting with Refractive Error

Before going into the details of exactly what is laser eye surgery, it would help to first understand the problem that refractive laser eye surgery attempts to address – refractive error.

Refractive error refers to a state of the eye when the light entering its front anatomical components fails to be bent (refracted) in such a way so as to focus to a sharp point on the retina at the back of the eye. The mismatch between the refractive power of the eye and eyeball length can result in prescriptions for farsightedness, nearsightedness, or astigmatism.

The result of refractive error is blurry vision, either for only certain distances or for all distances. The vision correction provided by optical aids such as glasses and contact lenses works by adjusting the refraction of light as it passes through the lens so that by the time it passes through your own refractive anatomy – namely, the cornea and the crystalline lens – it will be able to focus perfectly onto the retina, resulting in clear vision.

However, there are some shortcomings of spectacles and contacts, such as inconvenience in certain situations and the ongoing costs of maintaining these aids as they wear down or run out. So, in the 1980s the first laser eye surgery procedure was approved for surgical vision correction.

 

What is Laser Eye Surgery?

Laser eye surgery is a form of vision correction using laser technology. While optical aids such as glasses and contacts are worn externally, laser surgery procedures surgically adjust the anatomy of the eye itself to change the way light passes through it.

what is laser eye surgery in ArmadaleThe goal of refractive laser eye surgery is to provide vision correction that significantly reduces a patient’s dependence on glasses or contacts. This may look different from individual to individual. For some people, this may mean excellent unaided vision for all long-distance viewing such as when playing sport or driving, and for occasional near activities such as reading they are quite happy to put on reading glasses. For other people, such as those who spend the majority of their time reading or sewing, they may prefer to have perfect vision for near work and wear glasses for driving and movies instead.

Depending on the type of refractive error, age of the patient, and the laser surgery technique used, some lucky patients may find themselves with clear vision for both distance and near activities without needing any glasses.

How Does Laser Eye Surgery Work? 

The cornea is located at the very front surface of the eye, that clear dome of tissue that covers the colored iris. The crystalline lens is hidden just behind the iris and is responsible for adjusting its shape with the help of muscles to accommodate for focusing on near objects.

Refractive laser surgery treatments are targeted at reshaping the cornea to change the passage and refraction of light through this surface. There are other refractive surgery methods that involve the crystalline lens but these aren’t typically considered laser procedures – operations such as cataract extraction or refractive lens exchange (RLE) are also able to effectively correct the eye’s refractive error and reduce a patient’s need for optical aids.

There are two types of medical laser tools that are used for refractive laser eye surgery, though not all laser surgery methods require the use of both – these are the femtosecond laser and the excimer laser.

Here’s a brief summary of a few of the most well-known laser eye surgery procedures.

 

Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK)

PRK involves manual removal of the superficial layers of the cornea known as the epithelium, which can be done mechanically or chemically. This then exposes the deeper tissues of the cornea known as the stroma. An excimer laser can then be applied to reshape the stromal tissue in a process known as photoablation.

 

Laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK)

This may be the most well-known laser eye surgery procedure. Similar to PRK, an excimer laser is used in photoablation of the corneal stroma, but instead of entirely removing the epithelial layers, a hinged flap of superficial corneal tissue is created instead. This flap can then later be repositioned after photoablation and allowed to self-seal, which has some benefits in recovery time. Traditionally, this corneal flap was created using a bladed tool, but more recently some surgeons are preferring to use the femtosecond laser to form the flap.

 

Small incision lenticule extraction (SMILE®)

One of the most recent advancements in refractive surgery, SMILE® offers a minimally invasive way of surgically correcting refractive error. Using a femtosecond laser, a sliver of tissue called a lenticule is formed within the cornea and then removed via a keyhole incision in the outer layers. This causes minimal disruption to the corneal layers, maintaining better structural integrity.

 

If you’re interested in laser eye surgery and how it can improve your lifestyle, book your initial appointment with us now and call us now: (03) 9070 5753.

 

Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

symptoms of dry eye Armadale

Symptoms of Dry Eye – Everything You Should Know

The symptoms of dry eye aren’t always what you may expect. Many patients are often surprised that the vision or eye problems they’re experiencing are in fact due to dryness of the eye’s surface. As the eye care profession’s knowledge of dry eye syndrome continues to grow, we’re beginning to understand more and more that dry eye is a multi factorial condition subject to a whole host of underlying factors and contributors, both environmental and genetic. Understanding that dry eye disease is much more than simply insufficient fluid on the eye is also helping to shape and develop dry eye treatment in a way that addresses not only the presenting symptoms of dry eye but also its underlying causes. But the first step in treating any disease is, of course, identifying it. So, what are the symptoms of dry eye?

 

Symptoms of Dry Eye 

Contrary to popular belief, dry eye syndrome doesn’t always present with feeling that the eyes are dry. Here are some other common but less well-known symptoms of dry eye.

  • symptoms of dry eye in ArmadaleRed eyes: The official definition of dry eye syndrome by the International Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society makes specific mention of inflammation of the ocular surface as playing a significant role. As redness is one of the hallmark signs of any sort of inflammation, many dry eyes often present with redness of the sclera (the whites of the eye) and/or the eyelid margins. As many find this cosmetically unappealing, some patients turn to eye drops for red eyes, which contain vasoconstrictor drugs to whiten the eye, when the best relief for their red eyes should really be in the form of appropriate dry eye treatment.
  • Foreign body sensation: This is another term for describing the feeling of something in the eye, such as an eyelash or a grain of sand. This ranks highly among the common symptoms of dry eye, though many patients are convinced there is actually something stuck in the eye and will even attend the hospital emergency department for treatment.
  • Burning, scratchy, gritty eyes: Dryness isn’t the only adjective that can describe a dry eye. Burning, scratchy, and gritty are more easily recognizable symptoms of dry eye as the tear film that usually covers and protects the sensitive surface of the eye is compromised, leading to exposure of the delicate cornea to the environment. Some patients may describe the sensation as stinging, or even the sensation of a fleeting pinprick.
  • Filmy, sticky eyes: The eyelids are lined with sebaceous glands known as Meibomian glands. The function of these glands is to produce an oil that forms part of a healthy tear film that covers the corneal surface, but quite commonly these glands become blocked or the composition of their secretions is altered by bacterial colonization from the skin. Even hormonal changes can affect the quality of Meibomian secretions, resulting in poor quality oils. The effect can be a filmy, mucky feeling of the eyes and vision, which can fluctuate with blinking. The eyelids may also feel a bit sticky from the excess poor quality oils.
  • Watery eyes: The sensation of the eyes feeling watery or teary is probably the most counter intuitive symptom of dry eye syndrome yet is surprisingly common. As the surface of the cornea dries and is exposed to the surrounding environment, a reflex is triggered which causes an increase in tear production in an effort to lubricate and protect the eye. This is similar to situations where the eye waters to flush out a foreign particle that may have fallen in. Some patients may notice the wateriness is worse in certain conditions, such as outdoors in the cold or the wind – two environmental factors that can exacerbate dryness of the ocular surface. Although it may seem odd to be looking at dry eye treatment to alleviate wateriness, it can in fact be the answer to reduce bothersome tearing of the eyes.
  • Tired eyes: A tired sensation in the eyes can arise from a number of causes, one simply being that the body is tired and it’s time to rest. In some cases, tired, fatigued eyes can also be a sign of dryness due to inadequate lubrication over the cornea. This creates greater friction between the surface of the cornea and the underside of the upper eyelid, leading to an increased effort required with each blink. By the end of the day, an eye that has had to exert a greater amount of force to blink the eyelid over a dry ocular surface will feel more fatigued.

One of the interesting observations that has become more apparent with deepening understanding of dry eye syndrome is that the symptoms of dry eye don’t always correlate with the clinical signs seen by the eye care provider. It is now recognized that dry eye can be present without the patient feeling any sort of discomfort or symptoms at all and conversely, that a patient may present complaining of terribly dry, gritty, sore eyes but with only very mild signs of dryness seen on examination.

A comprehensive eye examination to classify the category of dry eye syndrome as well as identify what factors may be contributing to the dryness is the best way to direct dry eye treatment strategies. Though lubricant eye drops off the shelf at the chemist or supermarket may provide immediate short-term relief, there are now a significant number of more effective, targeted dry eye therapies available upon the advice of your eye care provider.

 

Having problem with you dry eyes and need professional treatment? You are welcome to call us on (03) 9070 5753 to organize your initial consultation. Book your appointment by phone or online.