Refractive eye surgery is the subspecialty of ophthalmology that treats the refractive defects of the eye: myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism.
The goal of eye surgery is to make the patient independent of glasses and contact lenses. There are a variety of surgical techniques to achieve this, and success will depend largely on the right choice of technique for each patient.
Myopia is a refractive defect that prevents proper focus in distance vision, while near objects are perceived without problem. The eye of people suffering from this problem focuses the image in front of the retina and not directly on it, so the vision of this image is not clear.
Farsightedness is a refractive error that causes blurred and uncomfortable near vision mainly, but after a certain age, blurred distance vision also appears. In the case of farsightedness, the image is focused behind the retina and not directly on it.
Astigmatism occurs when the cornea does not have the same curvature in all its axes. Light strikes at various points or axes, causing blurred and distorted vision. Astigmatism is usually present from birth, and can occur alone or associated with nearsightedness and farsightedness.
Currently, the correction of most refractive errors is done by EXCIMER LASER (LASIK), an accurate and safe technique to correct prescription defects such as myopia, hyperopia or astigmatism. The laser polishes the cornea to give it the curvature needed to focus objects properly on the retina. It is a highly effective technique with very predictable results.
There is a limit to what the laser can correct. That is, in cases of high myopia, for example, the laser cannot correct all of the myopia, so we opt for other techniques. The same is true for patients who, despite not having very high myopia, the characteristics of their corneas do not allow them to opt for the laser. The preferred technique in these cases is the FACIAL INTRAOCULAR LENS IMPLANT (also known as ICL®), where a lens specially designed for the correction of the refractive defect is introduced through a minimally invasive surgery. Unlike cataract surgery, this lens is implanted without removing the crystalline lens (the eye’s natural lens). This lens is implanted with the idea of being permanent, but if necessary it can be removed (for example if cataract surgery is required over the years)
It is important to understand that refractive surgery is a very personalized procedure that requires a previous ophthalmological study. Not everyone is a good candidate for refractive surgery, and only an ophthalmologist qualified in this specialty can advise you. Dr.Nieto collaborates with the best specialists in refractive surgery, who will advise you on the best option for your case.
Refractive eye surgery is performed under “topical” anesthesia in most cases. This means that only gout anesthesia is used. An anesthesiologist is always present, so a light sedation will always be administered intravenously for the patient’s peace of mind.
The eye surgery usually lasts between 10 and 15 minutes, and after this time the patient will stay about 45 minutes in the clinic.
In case of a history of facial herpes we will perform a prophylactic treatment with oral antivirals.
Recovery after refractive eye surgery is rapid, and full visual recovery usually occurs by the second or third day after surgery. The patient should avoid physical exertion for 1 week and water activities for 2 weeks.