Paving Your Way to a Better Vision
Our eyes are valuable tools to help us see and connect with the world. With a clear vision, you can perform daily tasks with greater ease and freedom. Having good eyesight also means protecting yourself from unnecessary mishaps.
Did you know that up to 80 per cent of Singapore’s population are myopic? The prevalence of myopia emphasises how we often take our eyesight for granted until they begin to deteriorate.
Thankfully, there are various treatment solutions to rectify these vision problems. Caring for our eyes start from improving our eyesight. Learn some of these common vision problems and ways to correct your vision.
Common Vision Problems
Ever find it difficult seeing things from a distance but easy to read a book up close? You are likely to have short-sightedness, otherwise known as myopia. This condition occurs when your eyeball is abnormally long or when your cornea is too curved, resulting in light focusing in front of your retina. Uncorrected short-sightedness can disrupt your daily routine, such as driving and reading road signs.
Besides blurry vision, this refractive disorder may cause you to have excessive eye strain that will develop into headaches and fatigue over time.
In severe cases of high myopia, one is at risk of eye disorders such as retinal tears and retinal detachments, cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration.
If you have trouble seeing things up close but not distant objects, you might have far-sightedness. Also known as hyperopia, the condition is caused by a short eyeball or an excessively flat cornea that results in light focusing behind the retina. It affects your ability to focus on menial tasks such as reading and writing, which can be hugely inconvenient.
The constant squinting required to maintain focus can cause headaches, fatigue, and eyestrain in people with far-sightedness.
Do you see streaks of light or haloes when you look at traffic lights or street lamps? You are likely to have astigmatism. In astigmatism, the cornea is not perfectly round but has different curvatures at different meridians: it is shaped more like a rugby ball than a basketball. Light rays entering the eye are focused onto multiple points instead of a single point in the eye resulting in distorted or blurry images. Most myopic or hyperopic eyes have some degree of astigmatism.
Are you over 40 years of age and have difficulty reading near? Do you hold your mobile phone further from you to see clearer? These are signs of old-sightedness, otherwise known as presbyopia. In the normal eye, the natural crystalline lens is able to adjust its curvature accordingly to focus on far or near objects. This auto-focusing ability of the eye is called accommodation. With age, the lens loose its elasticity and its ability to focus on near objects.
Improving Your Eye Vision
Whether you have myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism or presbyopia, there are a few available treatments to correct and restore your vision.
If you are short-sighted, far-sighted, or have astigmatism, corrective lenses can help to improve your vision. Eyeglasses and contact lenses are recommended for those who prefer non-surgical procedures or want quick and easy solutions.
If you have age-related old-sightedness (presbyopia), consult your ophthalmologist to find out if over-the-counter reading glasses are adequate for you. Otherwise, you will need to get prescription lenses if you already have other vision problems like astigmatism. They should, however, be worn only for close-up work such as reading or writing.
If you prefer a more permanent solution, refractive surgery may be ideal for you. As this is a non-reversible procedure, discuss with your ophthalmologist the possible side effects and whether you are a suitable candidate for the laser eye surgery.
Some of the common and popular laser eye correction procedures include:
LASIK (Laser in-situ Keratomileusis)
LASIK is one of the most common laser procedures for the correction of near-sightedness, far-sightedness, and astigmatism. This bladeless procedure involves using a Femtosecond laser to create a corneal flap and then an Excimer laser to reshape the corneal curvature before putting the flap back in place.
PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy)
PRK laser surgery uses an advanced surface ablation technique that allows an Excimer laser to reshape your cornea without creating a corneal flap. The corneal “skin” layer (epithelium) is gently removed before the reshaping process.
Compared to LASIK surgery, PRK is a relatively faster and simpler laser procedure. However, the latter has a slower visual recovery as it requires the corneal surface to heal on its own. Other variations of PRK procedures include TransPRK (where the “skin” layer and the reshaping occur in one continuous step), LASEK and EpiLASIK.
Common Issues with Glasses and Contact Lenses
While eyeglasses and contact lenses are common solutions to most refractive disorders, wearing one comes with several cons.
- High powered lenses can distort your peripheral vision.
- Spectacles can be a hindrance when you are engaging in sports or other outdoor activities.
- Foggy lenses caused by precipitation in a cold or humid environment or from mask wearing, can obstruct your vision.
- You may experience discomfort due to constant pressure on your nose and ears from the weight of your glasses.
Although contact lenses can overcome some of the problems faced with eyeglasses, they have certain disadvantages:
- Contact lenses are prone to wear and tear, which requires extra care in storing and handling.
- Bacteria build-up from neglected lens care and prolonged wear can cause infections, allergies, or other eye diseases.
- Negligent use of contact lenses, such as wearing them during sleep, may cause scratches and irritation to your cornea and increase your risk of infection.
How LASIK Benefits You
With LASIK treatment, you will experience better control in your life without the dependence on glasses or contact lenses. A laser vision correction also offers a multitude of other benefits such as:
- You will see a drastic improvement in your vision almost immediately.
- You can expect fast recovery and resume normal activities within 24 to 48 hours after a LASIK surgery.
- There is usually no pain associated with LASIK surgery.
- No bandages or stitches are required after the LASIK procedure.
- It is the most cost-effective and permanent option for vision correction.
Start your vision improvement journey today with an ophthalmologist who will discuss with you the steps to undergo a LASIK procedure. Remember, it is never too late or difficult to achieve the perfect eyesight you desire. Do not let poor vision affect your everyday life.
LASIK Surgery – Frequently Asked Questions. Learn More.