Around 23 million people experience difficulty with their sight. Until a few decades ago, there were no other options other than to wear glasses. Eye corrective laser surgery has made leaps and bounds in recent years, but will it replace the age old norm of eyeglasses?
Eye laser surgery is where a knife is used to cut a small flap in the front of the eye. This flap is held back to allow a laser to zap away some of the cells in the cornea and the lens, permanently changing the shape of the eye. The flap is then replaced to heal normally, with help from antibiotic and anti-inflammatory eye drops. The procedure is low-risk, with very few cases of serious complications. Patients can be back to work within a few days of having the surgery. Special glasses to need to worn when in bright sunlight for about three months afterwards, as natural protection in the eye is reduced by the laser. In some cases, when the flap is cut, blood vessels can be broken, which create small haemorrhages. These are common and not at all serious and little discomfort tends to be experienced. The results of the surgery are expected to last until a person is in their late 40s.
It currently costs about £750 to £1000 per eye to have the procedure done, so it isn’t an option that is easily available for everyone. So, until this changes, wearing glasses will remain the norm. Once the operation is complete, the patient will usually be provided with some dark glasses to shield their eyes for a while. The hospital prescription glasses look like some kind of 1980s nightmare, so we suggest you bring along something a little more stylish, like Tom Ford or Oakley sunglasses. Hey, there’s no reason you cant look good after surgery!
There have been very recent developments in the range of laser eye surgery. Currently, the surgery’s best results are on patients who are short-sighted. “Z-Kamra” laser surgery also involves putting a tiny lens into the eye, along with laser correction, which focuses the light entering the eye. This procedure will help patients with sight difficulties at any distance. However, this treatment is more expensive than the standard laser surgery option. Over time, increased demand will in turn increase supply and therefore bring the over-all cost down, but we are still many years away from this.
Even with eye laser surgery being more accessible, in price and availability, will we stop wearing glasses? There are so many fashionable designs and brands currently on the market that are well loved. People often wear glasses without prescription as fashion accessories. Celebrities use glasses to enhance their image, for example; Johnny Depp, and sometimes just for cosmetic effect without any optical benefit. Only time will tell if wearing glasses will become a symbol of the past, however, this is ultimately unlikely. We like our toys too much.