Vision: one of the human’s five senses. It helps us perceive and interpret the surrounding environment by receiving information. It consists one of the most significant factors that influences our personality, our attitude, our social beliefs and our emotional world.
From the medical point of view, vision is an important branch of medicine, known as ophthalmology, that deals with the anatomy, physiology and diseases of the eye. Nowadays, ophthalmology has been sufficiently developed and doctors, called ophthalmologists, are able to deal with plethora of treatments that lead to better or in many cases to excellent vision.
Cataract is the medical term for the blur of the natural lens of the eye. The lens, which is clear and transparent in normal eyes, becomes darker in colour and less transparent during life, leading to blurred images, noticed especially under dim light conditions (typically night driving).
It feels like wearing dark sunglasses in a place with low light intensity.
Not only the brightness but also colour perception is affected in cataract. Lens with cataract acts like a filter (yellow brown), so patients see colours fade, especially the blue colour. This effect was interestingly reproduced by the great French painter Monet almost 100 years ago. He had undergone cataract surgery (removal only) 1923 in Paris.
Although images remained blurred (replacement of the lens was not technically possible in 1923 as it is nowadays) blue colour returns powerfully in his paintings!
So, be prepared after surgery to enjoy even more intensively the powerful blue of the greek sky and the greek sea!
Procedure: Duration is about 20 minutes, not painful at all, under topical anesthesia, only with eye drops, no injections to the eye, no hospital stay, after 1 hour you may live the clinic.
Next day you will already enjoy clear vision!
You can have any activities you want, like sports etc. Only rubbing the eye is strictly prohibited for a period of 1 month. You should also avoid water falling into your eye for 15 days. For safety reasons, swimming is possible only under use of water tight swimming goggles.
Regular routine examinations after surgery, are performed on the 1st and the 6th or 7th day.
You are certainly informed about refractive surgery. Aim of this method is to shape the cornea in order to eliminate any refractive errors like nearsightedness (myopia) farsightedness (hyperopia) and astigmatism.
Assuming that the eye is a camera with two lenses, the front lens is the cornea (the light blue part on the eye scheme above) and the other one is called lens (the yellow brownish part on the eye scheme above). The problem in refractive errors is that focusing of the light rays is not achieved on the right level on the back of the eye.
Spectacle free vision can be achieved in myopes, astigmatism , but also in hyperopes who face difficulties in reading (mostly over 40 years old).
I can tell you about refractive surgery, not only as a doctor, but also as a patient, since I have undergone LASIK for myopia and astigmatism couple of years ago. It is a wonderful feeling to wake up in the morning and have a clear vision spontaneously, not looking for the glasses or the contact lenses. It is great to go swimming carelessly (I am a passionate windsurfer), without worrying about contact lenses or glasses and enjoying the nature undisturbed.
Procedure: Both LASER procedures are not painful at all, duration is only 5 minutes per eye, under topical anesthesia with eye drops.
LASIK: After cutting a very thin superficial flap of the cornea and lifting it, I apply LASER on the underlying cornea in order to give the cornea the desired shape. Thereafter I position the flap on its previous place.
The flap is not glued or sutured, it heals during the following couple of weeks. Thus one has to be very cautious during the first 15 days after LASIK not to rub the eyes. Displacement of the flap, resulting in blurry vision, occurs usually within the first 2-3 days, requires surgical repositioning as soon as possible.
Vision is very clear the day after LASIK. I had to perform an emergent operation to a patient of mine 24 hours after I had LASIK of my own eyes, without any visual difficulties at all!
LASER is applied directly to the corneal surface without cutting a flap. A superficial wound results, which heals during the following 3 days. During this healing time burning and inability to see in bright light is common. Therefore, after PRK one has to stay inside until symptoms resolve.
Information about preoperative and postoperative time:
You have to stop wearing contact lenses, which come in direct contact to the eyeball, 14 days before surgery, in order to make accurate measurements of the cornea and calculate correctly the LASER application modus. Before surgery certain examinations have to be performed, revealing whether refractive surgery can be performed on your eyes with safety, and which of the two methods can be used.
For safety reasons pretreatment with antibiotic eye drops is necessary.
Precautions after surgery are:
- Not rubbing the eye for 1 month. Ladies should not use eye cosmetics during the first 10-15 days.
- Avoiding contact of water during first 7-10 days. Swimming is possible only under use of water tight swimming goggles.
In case of high refractive errors, which make a LASER surgery of the cornea not indicated, the solution of an implantation of a lens (something like a contact lens, implanted into the eye) is also a very good option for correcting myopia or hyperopia. One of the best lenses for the long term, is the ICL lens of the company STAAR. However it requires a measurement of the eyes dimensions (which I should perform by myself) in order to choose the right sized lens specifically for the certain eye. Time of delivery after measurement and order (manufactured in Switzerland) is about 4-6 weeks. I prefer implanting the lens into the eyes on different days with an interval of at least 1 day between the right and the left eye.
Follow up after surgery is 1st, 3rd and 7th day after surgery, for routine cases.