Eyesight is one of the five basic human senses, one that a lot of people will usually take for granted. While some people think of sight as their God-given right, others live with one or more eye problems. Although there are not less than 50 eye problems, the most commonly known are three; myopia (commonly known as short-sightedness), hyperopia (long-sightedness) and astigmatism, which refers to having a cornea that is not well rounded to allow light into the eye. For individuals suffering from these conditions to be able to go about their daily tasks normally like other people, the common treatment options recommended are eyeglasses, contact lenses, and eye surgery.
Since the 13th Century, eyeglasses have been used to treat eye problems and are still very commonly used today. The very first contact lenses were discovered in Switzerland in 1888 while laser surgery was first experimented on in the 1970s. In the pursuit of a long-lasting way to correct vision, medical practitioners are still working to make the available options even better than they initially were. In the case of eye surgery, the different types available include LASIK (laser in-situ keratomileusis), PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) and LASEK (laser epithelial keratomileusis). With more emphasis put on trends and fashion in this day, it could be argued that laser eye surgery is the better way to go as compared to the old-fashioned designer eye glasses.
As is with every situation, there are both pros and cons of both approaches to better eyesight. Many people will settle for eye glasses because they are a lot cheaper than laser eye surgery. The cost of LASIK for both eyes is averaged to cost around $4000 which is the same amount a person in his 20s who changes his glasses every two years will have used by the time he reaches his 60s. Most insurance plans will not cover the cost of eye surgery and will only give a discount at best. This means that laser surgery is a luxury to be enjoyed mostly by the wealthy.
Another advantage of eyeglasses is that they are available everywhere and they need a lot less specialization than eye surgery. An optician can check your eyes and prescribe suitable eyeglasses without any major issues. For laser surgery, it is advised that one conduct a background check on the laser eye surgeon in advance to ensure that they have carried out the procedure previously.
Eyeglasses are also the best as far as correcting vision is concerned because the lenses will be issued according to the particular problem of the individual unlike in laser eye surgery where it is common to overcorrect or undercorrect a problem that will usually result in a second procedure or the use of eyeglasses or contact lenses. Eyeglasses also prevent things from entering the eyes and also protect the eyes from external elements such as dust and UV rays that can be harmful to the eyes. UV blockers will also significantly reduce the chance of getting cataracts.
In addition to these, eyewear has more improved features today which include polarized lenses that come in more colors, transition lenses that can get darker and lighter, scratch resistant lenses because of anti-reflective coatings and thinner lenses than before even for those who require a high prescription. Eyeglasses have become trendier, coming in more designs and colors that can be used to make fashion statements unlike in the past where they were considered ugly medical devices.
Laser Eye Surgery
Laser eye surgery, on the other hand, is praised for its immediate results, and it’s short procedure time that is about a maximum of 15 minutes on every eye. Not only is it painless but the expected success rate is 20/20 vision without using contact lenses. The recovery time is between a few days to several weeks for one’s vision to stabilize. Many people will also prefer the surgery because it comes with less hassle when compared to eyeglasses and contact lenses. People can also enjoy the convenience of working and reading from the bed and slouching on the couch to watch the television without being poked by the frames of the eyeglasses or fearing breakage of the same.
Laser surgery is also a welcome break for people in careers where having eye glasses is not accepted or is inconvenient such as the army. There is now eyewear for persons in sports, but it could prove uncomfortable and inconvenient making laser eye surgery a reasonable option for these individuals. Having laser surgery also saves a person the cost of replacing lost and broken eyeglasses. Some people might also feel that eye glasses, however revolutionized, still affect their body image and hence opt for laser surgery for aesthetic reasons. This may go a long way in boosting one’s self-esteem as well.
Laser surgery is, however, not for all people. Some people to whom it is completely unavailable include pregnant and lactating mothers, people suffering immunodeficiency, diabetes, cataracts, dry eye and vascular diseases among other conditions. Other factors that must be considered before eye surgery include having healthy eyes, stable vision for at least a year, sufficient thickness of the cornea, pupils that are not overly large, the age of a patient, mostly above 18 years and 21 years in some cases among others. An optician or eye laser surgeon should conduct all required tests well in advance and inform the patient of the necessary precautions to take before, during or after the surgery.
It is also important to note that not all cases are without hitches. Some people need a “touch up” procedure after the surgery to obtain acceptable visual acuity, some still need to wear glasses after the procedure though mostly of lower lens power than before while others will require reading glasses later in their 40s. Infections might also occur causing discomfort and a longer time healing, and one could also experience night glares especially when driving.
Both eyeglasses and laser eye surgery have their strong points and their disadvantages. What is better between the two may just be a matter of priority.