Although it is largely viewed as a ‘new’ method, the first patients of laser eye surgery were actually operated on as far back as 1987. In the intervening 25 years, it has progressed into an everyday procedure that has changed the lives of millions of people throughout the world.
What do we mean by laser eye surgery?
Laser eye surgery is a catch-all phrase for a number of procedures, with LASEK surgery tackling mild-to-moderate short sight and astigmatism, LASIK surgery treating mild-to-severe short sight as well as moderate long sight, and Wavefront surgery designed to cope with unusually-shaped corneas.
According to Optimax, one of the UK’s leading eye surgery specialists, 85% of people who wear glasses and hard contact lenses, and 95% of soft lens wearers are suitable candidates for a laser procedure. Only those suffering from the most significant astigmatism and long- and short-sightedness are unable to take advantage.
In the developed world, the number of people undergoing laser eye surgery every year runs into the millions. Many of these patients have debilitating vision problems that are significantly improved by the procedure and they continue their lives free from glasses and contact lenses.
Not only can you be given the opportunity to see freely and without assistance, laser surgery very often saves you money in the long-run. With the cost of laser eye surgery becoming more affordable all the time, the procedure represents excellent value, especially when compared to the alternative of replacing expensive glasses or contact lenses over a long period of time.
When compared to the medical conditions laser eye surgery can alleviate, it might seem superficial to focus on the aesthetic impact of the procedure. However, it’s undeniable that many people are given a new lease of life when they finally ditch their specs.
With many finding contact lenses uncomfortable, laser eye surgery finally allows them to lose their ‘face furniture’ and approach life with new found confidence.
Reverse vision impairment
Vision is something people take for granted until it, almost inevitably, starts slipping. But when it does begin to deteriorate – and often deterioration can be rapid – it can have very damaging effects on your quality of life. The ability to read, drive and work can be profoundly shaken by vision impairment, and this can consequently cause emotional stress.
Glasses and contact lenses can slow the rate of deterioration, but only laser eye surgery can undo it. Figures suggest that 99.5% of people with mild-to-moderate visual impairment are able to see and read without assistance, with 97% getting 20:20 vision back. The process can make a huge differences to people’s lives, both professionally and personally, gifting them renewed confidence and independence.
While the impact of laser eye surgery in the UK is profound for many, it is in the developing world where its effect is most positive.
Loss of sight in the world’s poorest countries can be tantamount to a death sentence. With often very little support outside the immediate family, blindness can prove to be an extreme burden not only to the sufferer, but to their loved ones too.
A person that goes blind in a rural area of a developing country can only expect to live for another three years, but approximately 80% of the developing world’s blindness is avoidable.
Through the administration of laser eye surgery, charities are helping to save some of the world’s most vulnerable people from a truly tragic fate.