Laser Vision Correction - An Overview
Vision correction solutions such as eyeglasses and contact lenses are popular choices among many to help achieve clear vision. However, these options can sometimes be inconvenient as it could limit the activities that you would like to engage or at times, it could cause discomfort.
Another option that is gaining popularity is Laser Vision Correction (LVC) – the product of medical advancement that will give you the opportunity to regain clear vision for a long-term.
These days, we are blessed that the medical advancement makes it possible for us to gain back clear vision. With this being said, we are aiming on a long-term vision correction other than ordinary glasses or contact lenses – Laser Vision Correction (LVC).
This field has seen many developments within a span of 30 years. In particular, the three most widely performed techniques today (PRK, FemtoLASIK and ReLEx SMILE) are able to treat most refractive errors very effectively and even gently. With the most advanced procedure – ReLEx SMILE, it supports a comfortable patient experience with its innovative minimally invasive method.
SMILE, the most advanced innovation in LVC, is a quick and minimally invasive procedure that has been FDA approved. It acts more gently on the cornea as the incision is 80% smaller as compared to LASIK. This quick and precise medical technology has been performed more than 2 million times worldwide.
SMILE may be an option for many people with mild refractive errors to severe nearsightedness and astigmatism.
More commonly known as LASIK, this technique has been the most popular LVC method since its invention in the 90s. However, with the advancement in LVC technology, SMILE becomes more well known as a surgical intervention for long-term vision correction. LASIK requires flap creation using femtosecond laser and later uses excimer laser to reshape the cornea to correct your vision.
Photo-Refractive Keratectomy (PRK)
PRK was first introduced in the late 1980s. Although visual recovery time for PRK is slightly longer as compared to the above techniques, this method still remains well-accepted as it has become an option for LVC candidates with relatively thin cornea or has corneal scar.
Who is suitable for LVC ?
- Stable eyeglass and contact lens prescription for at least 1 year
- Above the age of 18
- Not pregnant or nursing
- No history of any corneal disease such as keratoconus (the thinning of the cornea)
- No significant eye or medical problems such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma or macular degeneration
How do I prepare for LVC ?
- Make an appointment at our eye centre with one of our eye specialists.
- During your consultation, our specialist will run through with you a pre-operative assessment. During this time, take the opportunity to also discuss with your doctor your concerns and address any burning questions that you might have.
- Schedule your treatment and complete the treatment. Be ready to go home on the same day
Frequently Asked Questions
Is LVC suitable for all glasses wearers?
No. But, LVC is suitable for most of the glasses and/or contact lens wearers who are looking at correcting their vision surgically. A thorough LVC Pre-operative assessment is required to check for your suitability prior to the treatment.
Will there be a need to put on glasses again after LVC?
There is a possibility that one might still need glasses at some point in lives especially when he / she develops reading difficulty (presbyopia) due to aging. Reading glasses are commonly prescribed to address this issue. Refractive lens exchange is an alternative to reading glasses.
Is LVC treatment pain-free?
No, there is no pain during the treatment however one may feel some pressure and touch around the eyes.
How long is the recovery time and do I need to stay home after the procedure? How soon can I resume working?
The recovery process differs from one treatment to another. Generally, it will take approximately 3 days to gain back functional vision. We advised you to rest at home for at least one day after the procedure. The period of time for a person to resume working depends on the nature of his/her occupation. Usually one is advised to take it easy for the first 3 days.
Whats are the do’s and don’ts after LVC treatment?
- Get as much rest as possible and take extra care of your eyes
- Follow doctor’s instructions on medication regime strictly
- Attend all follow-ups
- Use the eye shields during sleep during the first week
- Contact us immediately when you experience any sudden eye pain/yellowish discharge/red eye/sudden blur of vision
- Do not rub or squeeze your eyes 1 to 2 weeks after treatment
- Do not let water get into your eyes on the first week
- Do not self-medicate (please call us if you are in doubt of the medication regime)
- Do not apply any cosmetic products around the eyes on the first week
- Avoid dusty and smoky places on the first week
- Avoid strenuous exercise on the first week
- No swimming, hot tub, sauna, Jacuzzi, contact sports and refrain from any kind of water sports for 1st month
Is LVC safe? Will LVC cause blindness?
After decades of improvement in LVC technology, refined surgical regime and effective medications, LVC is considered a safe procedure. Of course, all surgeries come with risks. However, the risks of LVC treatment is considered to be very low. There has never been a blindness case directly related to LVC. Post-operative inflammation or infection may lead to blindness, that is the reason why our doctors monitor your eye condition closely after the treatment.
What are the side effects of LVC procedure?
All surgeries come with certain risks and side effects, LVC treatment will not be an exception. Fortunately, most of the side effects of LVC treatment are short-term and some patients might not experience them at all. The common side effects are dry eye, mild irritation and tearing. Lubricating eye drops will be prescribed to resolve dry eye condition. Mild irritation and tearing usually present for the first few hours after the treatment, patients are advised to close their eyes and rest during this period. Other temporary side effects are glares & haloes and minor vision fluctuation which will usually be stabilized after 3 months.
How long will the procedure take?
The procedure will usually take 20 to 30mins and patient will be ready to go home after that.
How do I prepare myself for the LVC assessment?
- For those who only wear glasses, you may schedule the LVC suitability assessment anytime at your convenience.
- For Soft Contact Lens wearers, you are advised to lay off contact lenses for at least 3 days before your LVC assessment. We advised you to book a date for the assessment so that it is easier for you to gauge the date to cease contact lens wear.
- For people who wear Hard Contact Lens or Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) lenses, please lay off your contact lenses for at least 2 weeks prior to LVC suitability assessment. We again advised you to book a date for the assessment and cease lens wear 2 weeks before the appointment.
If I was found to be a suitable candidate for LVC treatment, what is the next step?
If you are deemed suitable for LVC treatment, you may then schedule for your surgery. Please note that you will need few more days to rest after your surgery. We will assist you in arranging the schedule to include the initial recovery period.
How do I prepare myself on the day of LVC treatment?
On the day of your treatment, please DO NOT apply any cosmetics, alcohol based perfume, cologne, stop contact lens wear (refer to no. 9) and NO driving is allowed. You are encouraged to put on a pair of sunglasses after treatment.
Is it true that there is no need to stay in the hospital after the treatment?
Normally there is no need for patients to stay in the hospital after LVC treatment. However, we are able to advise and make arrangement for those who prefer to be taken care by our professional medical personnel.
How frequent do I need to be reviewed after the treatment?
Generally, the follow-ups will be scheduled at 1 Day, 3 Days, 1 Week, 1 Month and 3 Months after the treatment. All patients are advised to perform an eye check yearly.
What can be done if I develop cataract years after I have done LVC?
Cataract is usually age-related eye condition, which means everyone will develop cataract at some point later in our lives and it causes blurring of vision. It requires a surgery (Cataract Removal Surgery) to restore the vision. However, Cataract Removal Surgery is a different procedure from LVC treatment, Cataract Removal Surgery involves removal and replacement of an inner eye structure – crystalline lens, whilst LVC reshapes the outer part of eye – cornea. Therefore, one can still undergo Cataract Removal Surgery if he/she is deemed to be a suitable candidate even with the medical history of LVC.
For overseas patients – Do I need to attend for all follow-ups? What if I can only spend few days in Malaysia for the treatment?
If you are travelling from overseas or other states in Malaysia, please be in town for about 5 to 7 days. Please refer to guidelines for international patients for itinerary planning. However, for those who are unable to attend every follow-up, they are advised to consult an eye doctor in their next destination on the recommended check-up date.
If I was found to be NOT suitable for LVC treatment, is there other procedures that I can go for?
If you are found not to be a LVC candidate after the assessment, our doctors will advise the alternatives based on your eye conditions. There are other ways to correct your vision besides glasses and contact lenses, such as Implantable Collamer Lens (ICL), Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE), Cataract Removal Surgery, OrthoKeratology (Ortho-K) and etc.