5 Good reasons to choose refractive surgery

Vision problems have been plaguing humanity for hundreds of years and have remained an impairing condition until the 13th century, when the first eyeglasses that could partially correct such problems were introduced.
This revolutionary invention worked on the same principle as today’s eyeglasses, which are used by over 51% of the Italian population.
Today, a major breakthrough has been achieved in the treatment of refractive problems. Of course, I am talking about refractive surgery, which allows to correct vision problems without depending on external lenses.
Now I will try and explain the reasons why it is worth considering refractive surgery as a valid option to correct one’s vision problems.

1. Safety and reliability

The idea of undergoing eye surgery can seem scary to many. This fear is normal considering how much we rely on eyesight. But for this very reason, for the key role it plays in our life, if we were given the possibility to improve it, we should go for it. Refractive surgery techniques are extremely safe and boast incredible success rates. Abroad, refractive surgery is widely performed on people who rely a lot on eyesight in their line of work, such as pilots, astronauts and renowned athletes. As a matter of fact, ReLEx SMILE (the latest, revolutionary refractive surgical technique) has recently become the treatment of choice for people suffering from myopia in the US naval forces and NASA.
From my experience as a specialist eye surgeon, I believe that there are far more risks in wearing contact lenses than in undergoing refractive surgery. This statement of mine, which may seem provocative, stems from the fact that the misuse of contact lenses can be way more dangerous than many side effects from surgery, but for most people a contact lens is not as scary as surgery can be.

2. Quality of life

Refractive surgery sets as its primary goal the improvement of the patient’s quality of life, which is also the main parameter to assess the success of surgery. In the case of professional athletes, there are clear advantages to surgery. For them, getting rid of eyeglasses or contact lenses would result in an immediate improvement in their sport performance, due to better hand-eye coordination and greater confidence during competitions.
That being said, there are several advantages to refractive surgery also for amateur athletes and ordinary people, as surgery can significantly improve their quality of life, either by introducing them to new positive experiences or by eliminating the everyday hassle of wearing eyeglasses or contacts: no one wants to break their eyeglasses at the wrong time or to lose a contact when they are out and about. This has a psychological impact as well, since having to rely on visual aids to see is often a cause of distress…

3. Results

Refractive surgery is now an established option – and this is a fact. Over the last 40 years refractive surgery techniques have considerably improved, delivering undeniable results.
It is quite normal for patients to achieve perfect vision after surgery, but even patients suffering from severe myopia may achieve 12/10 or even 14/10 visual acuity. Today it is possible to treat astigmatism, astigmatic myopia, hyperopia and myopia in a safe and effective way. Over the years, different techniques have been developed which, depending on the patient’s refractive error or eye, can correct the vision problem with results ranging from good to outstanding. Of course, results vary depending on the professionalism and the manual skills of the surgeon (after all, it is still a surgical intervention) but from my personal experience, I can say that most of the time the right operation performed by a qualified surgeon brings excellent results.

4. Better visual acuity

Operating on our natural lenses delivers significantly better outcomes than more traditional refractive correction methods. This is because wearing eyeglasses can reduce one’s visual field, sometimes causing absolute blind spots. Simply put, eyeglasses affect, to some extent, one’s peripheral vision, which may be an issue depending on the activity that one is engaging in.
Although this problem may be fixed by wearing contact lenses, the latter are just as problematic. As a matter of fact, contacts float on the surface of the eye and when they move (which is almost inevitable during the day) the focus changes as well, thus worsening one’s vision. This issue is particularly evident in people suffering from astigmatism, for whom even the slightest change in position may result in serious vision problems.
The visual acuity achieved by undergoing refractive surgery is higher than that achieved with other methods, and may be compared to that of a healthy eye.

5. There is no good reason not to do it

In summary, undergoing this kind of surgery carries very few risks and many important benefits. Thanks to recent advances in surgery, there are only few patients who are not eligible for this kind of surgery and even then, the issues that preclude surgery can be easily identified at a first examination. Evidence from the literature has shown that this kind of surgery is entirely safe: although it is still not widely performed in Italy, in many countries it is a routine surgery performed on thousands of patients every year. Nowadays glasses are no longer the only option available; even from the narrowly economic point of view, it is far more advantageous to undergo refractive surgery than buy contacts and eyeglasses for the rest of your life.

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