Nearsightedness & Myopiacauses, symptoms and treatments

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Last updated 9/29/2019
Myopia - Assil Eye Institute

What is Nearsightedness

Nearsightedness, also known as Myopia, is a condition where distant objects appear blurry, but closer objects do not. A myopic eye is slightly longer than what we would call "a normal eye" and is generally corrected with "minus powered" glasses or contact lens.

 

Uncorrected myopia is the leading cause of distance vision impairment globally. Amazingly, it is estimated that by 2030 half of all Americans will be nearsighted. And by 2050, almost five billion people, half of everybody on earth, will be myopic.

 

If you do not want to wear glasses or contacts, there are some permanent correction solutions that you might be a candidate for.

 

When you have myopia, your eyeglass prescription will have a negative number. The more negative the number, the stronger your lenses will need to be (for instance, a -3.0 is a stronger prescription than a -2.5).

Non-surgical solutions for nearsightedness

Of course, you can get glasses or contact lenses with your particular prescription to correct your myopia and provide clear vision when you’re wearing them. While these options are suitable for many folks, there are many others who have grown frustrated with eyeglasses and contact lenses.

 

Surgical solutions for nearsightedness

For those people who find glasses or contact use burdensome or incompatible with their lifestyle, there are more permanent options for myopia correction through surgery. These options include:

 

LASIK

LASIK (which stands for “Laser Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis) is the most popular solution among Americans for myopia correction. This is because with a very experienced surgeon using a highly specialized laser, the focusing power of your eyes can be corrected in a nearly pain free 15 minute procedure, freeing you once and for all from wearing glasses or contacts.

 

With LASIK, your surgeon reshapes your cornea so that it can do a better job of focusing light more precisely onto the retina, which allows you to see more clearly. With the best LASIK surgeons, a patient’s vision often becomes even better than 20/20 and far better than they could previously see with their glasses or contact lenses.

 

At AEI, we have been performing LASIK surgery for over 2 decades and have led the industry in developing surgical techniques and laser protocols, as well as performing product testing on several generations of lasers. This experience allows us to combine leading edge technology with advanced surgical techniques developed by Dr. Assil to provide highly tailored vision correction unique to each patient.

 

In fact, AEI is the only Los Angeles area ophthalmology practice with two LASIK surgical suites outfitted with the VISX Star S4 excimer laser that offers the most advanced technology coupled with greatest reliability to our patients. A safety feature called Iris Registration ensures that the laser remains properly aligned to your eye as it sculpts. This feature also ensures that there’s no possibility of treating the wrong eye or the wrong patient. A second safety feature tracks eye movement during surgery, so that the laser's accuracy is not affected if you move or blink during your vision correction procedure.

 

Of course, your doctor will perform a comprehensive eye examination to determine if LASIK is right for you. If you are not considered a good LASIK candidate, the good news is that at AEI, our eye surgeons also perform a variety of other myopia correction procedures.

 

PRK (also known as LASEK)

PRK (or photorefractive keratectomy) was the first type of laser surgery for vision correction when it was introduced in 1995. This technology has evolved over two decades and the newest generation PRK procedure is known as LASEK (for laser assisted subepithelial keratectomy).

 

LASEK is a safe, effective procedure for vision correction that’s ideal for those who aren’t good candidates for LASIK vision correction or for persons wanting sharper vision following cataract surgery. LASEK involves using laser energy to gently sculpt the outer layer of the cornea in order to correct focusing error.

 

The key difference between PRK (also called LASEK) and LASIK surgery has to do with where the laser sculpting takes place. With LASEK, the laser energy is applied directly to the surface of the cornea, whereas with LASIK, the outer corneal layer is spared and the laser energy is applied to the middle corneal layer.

 

It’s important to know that at AEI, our surgeons use the same cool ultraviolet iFS Intralase excimer laser in both LASEK and LASIK procedures, so the final vision correction results are quite similar for both.

 

Phakic Intraocular Lenses (Phakic IOLs)

Also called Implantable contact lenses (ICL), these implants provide an alternative to glasses or contact lenses for those patients who are not good candidates for LASIK surgery or PRK but who would like to consider vision correction surgery (known as refractive surgery).

 

The ICL procedure is performed in our office and takes about 10 minutes per eye. At AEI we fit patients with one of two different phakic IOL brands:

 

Visian

The Visian lens is rolled up like a very compact cigar within a pen-like device that inserts the lens in your eye through your cornea (the clear part of your eye surface). The lens is then positioned behind your iris (the colored part of the eye) and in front of your eye's natural lens and is then gently unfolded and stays in place without stitches. The incision in your cornea is so tiny that stitches are not needed because the cornea can heal on its own.

 

Verisyse

The Verisyse lens is introduced through a 6mm incision made at the outer edge of your iris (the colored part of your eye). The lens is then secured using very fine dissolvable stitches. Your corneal incision is also stitched closed.

Most patients experience mild discomfort during and after surgery. Your eye may be red and swollen. You will be prescribed medications for pain, as well as eye drops to prevent inflammation and infection. You will also be given eye shields to wear at night for the first week after surgery to keep you from inadvertently scratching your eyes.

 

Initially, you might feel irritation like there's something in your eye, but that will quickly disappear and then you will not be able to feel your lens. Nor will the lens be visible to an outside observer looking at you. Most patients report clear vision the next day. And, in our experience, vision is quite stabilized within one week of surgery.

 

Myopia correction performed during Cataract Surgery

Of course, for those needing cataract surgery, the primary goal of surgery is to replace the hazy natural lens with a crystal clear one that will allow the maximum amount of light to enter the eye in an effort to achieve sharper vision. In traditional cataract surgery, the natural lens is replaced with a crystal clear plastic lens that does not correct your refractive errors (nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism).

 

In recent years, patients have had the option of substituting a prescription implantable lens instead of the clear non-prescription lens. Known as Premium Intraocular Lenses (IOLs) these prescription lenses are designed to bend light rays entering your eye to correct your unique focusing errors (be it nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism) thus ridding you of glasses or contact lenses.

 

At AEI we use the most advanced technology available today for cataract surgery: the Femtosecond laser. This laser creates a 2 millimeter incision through which the entire surgery is performed. This offers the triple advantages of better precision, safety and less harm to the surrounding eye tissue.

 

Our cataract procedures are performed under gentle sedation in our own surgery center. The entire process takes less than 2 hours, after which patients are taken home by whoever has accompanied them that day.

 

Why trust AEI for your nearsightedness (myopia) corrections?

 At AEI we know that each patient has a unique medical profile and lifestyle that must be taken into consideration when considering treatment options for their eye care. We don't practice “one size fits all” medicine, but rather make an effort to get to know you because at AEI our patients are more than just a diagnosis.

 

We feel strongly that by getting to know you, we can not only provide you with treatment options that best suit your lifestyle, but we can also suggest some lifestyle modifications that may optimize your eye health.

 

Schedule your consultation with our Myopia experts
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