There are a variety of conditions that may call for eye surgery; from cosmetic changes to vision-saving procedures. Each treatment comes with its own benefits, risks, and indications for use. From corrective treatments to orbital implants, today’s advancements can tackle almost any condition and provide a successful solution.
Corrective laser eye surgery is by far the most popular eye surgery in today’s times. It has taken the world by storm, with approximately 2,000 people having it performed every day. The two most common methods of corrective surgery are LASIK (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis) and PRK (photorefractive keratectomy). Laser eye surgery can correct myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism, thereby eliminating an individual’s dependency on corrective lenses.
- Most popular, LASIKuses a precision laser to remove corneal tissue and reshape the cornea to change its level of focus.
- PRKis preferred for individuals with thin corneas where creating a flap may be more difficult.
Both types of corrective surgery take approximately 15 minutes per eye. New “bladeless” wavefront technology has been introduced to mitigate some of the issues caused by aberrations in flap edges.
Cataracts, commonly affecting both eyes, occur in over half of adults over 60. The surgery to remove cataracts is a very safe and successful procedure, with over 1.5 million cataract surgeries performed in the United States to date. It is generally recommended for those individuals who have vision loss that is impeding their daily life, but may be avoided for those who have additional eye diseases. Cataract surgery is performed with minimal sedation and generally takes less than 30 minutes. During surgery, an artificial lens is put in place of the original to restore vision.
There are three different approaches to cataract surgery:
Most common, this approach requires only local anesthesia. Ultrasonic vibrations dissolve the cloudy lens via an inserted probe.
- Extracapsular cataract surgery
This type of surgery is often performed when the lens is too dense for phacoemulsification. This surgery requires sutures, and recovery is longer.
- Intracapsular cataract surgery
This technique requires a larger incision, and the entire lens and surrounding capsule are removed. This method is rare, and is only used when existing eye trauma makes it the most practical option.
Over time, the lens replacement may begin to cloud. This is easily corrected with an additional laser treatment.
Glaucoma results in raised intraocular pressure and vision loss over time. Unfortunately, surgery for glaucoma cannot reverse this vision loss. However, surgery can reduce the intraocular pressure when medication is not a sufficient solution. If necessary, glaucoma surgery can be performed multiple times with low risk.
There are two types of common glaucoma surgery: laser and conventional.
Laser Surgery – During laser surgery, a laser is used to make a small opening in the eye’s drainage system to help increase fluid drainage out of the eye. When laser surgery fails to solve the condition or the condition re-emerges, the ophthalmologist may opt for conventional surgery.
Conventional Surgery – During conventional surgery, a new drainage canal is created that allows intraocular fluid to flow out of the eye.
Lid Repair Surgery
Lid repair may be indicated for both cosmetic and functional reasons. Lid repair is most commonly used to treat ptosis, also known as droopy eyelids. This has become a very popular surgery as the condition can cosmetically age the patient, obstruct vision, or create a visual incongruence between the eyelids.
Surgeries for ptosis can include blepharoplasty (ptosis resulting from aging), Fasanella-Servat and Müller’s muscle-conjunctival resection (for mild to moderate ptosis), and frontalis suspension (for more severe congenital cases).
Orbital eye surgery is indicated for conditions such as anophthalmia, enucleation, and evisceration. These types of surgeries are indicated for individuals with: congenital defects resulting in absent eyes, large eye tumors, or when the eye cannot be preserved due to trauma.
Surgical approaches include introducing an orbital implant such as the Orbital Tissue Expander, and bioceramic or silicone orbital implants. The Orbital Tissue Expander helps the preserve the congruency of facial structure in congenital cases where maintaining pressure on the surrounding structures is imperative to proper growth.
Orbital implants are used to preserve the natural structure of the eye orbit and provide support for the placement of an artificial eye. Recent advancements in orbital implants have aided in improving implant motility and allowing for the natural movement of artificial eyes. Stable materials that are biocompatible, bioinert, nontoxic, and nonallergenic provide a lower rate of migration and rejection in patients.
Eye surgery has become a prevalent part of modern society, and advancements have come a long way from methods of the past. Upgrades in lasers and biocompatible materials have created a new level of safety and success