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Laser Eye Surgery Now ‘routine’ at Any Age

Vision correction has come a long way, from the invention of eye glasses to the introduction of contact lenses and then laser vision correction. The first experiments with laser treatment took place in November 1989 at St Thomas’ hospital, London, since then more than 20 million people worldwide have undergone laser vision correction and 100,000 people in the UK undergo the procedure every year. Now, 20 years on from the first laser procedures, with the latest laser vision correction technology available in the region, laser has become routine for those as young as 21 years old (adult age of consent) and, equally effectively, for patients up to 50 and even beyond.

“Lasik is the state of the art in eye surgery and is a painless and quick procedure, lasting just a few minutes,” says Dr Edmondo Borasio, Consultant Corneal and Refractive Surgeon at Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai. “There is a success rate of around 98 per cent with the procedure and, usually, patients can see a major improvement immediately following the surgery; however, the full results will only be apparent the next day. Laser eye surgery really has come a long way in the last 20 years and is now a routine procedure for skilled surgeons.”

Laser vision correction, from the forties onwards, may require a small compromise between near and distance vision and there are other options available for older citizens. Distance vision can be corrected only partially, for instance to 90 per cent, in order to gain some near vision; or one eye can be corrected for short-sightedness and one for distance vision (called ‘monovision’). Multifocal laser correction of the cornea is another option, where multiple concentric rings are sculpted on the corneal surface, allowing improved near and distance vision simultaneously but the vision quality achieved with this procedure is not as clear as with a monofocal approach (standard laser treatment).

“With the ‘monovision’ approach, we generally simulate the effect with a special contact lens before proceeding with surgery to see if the patient likes it,” adds Dr Borasio. “Some people find the imbalance between the two eyes to be uncomfortable, but others find this to be the ideal solution.”

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