Frequently Asked Medical Questions - Fernández-Vega Ophthalmological Institute

Frequently Asked Medical Questions

Fernández-Vega Ophthalmological Institute

After a LASIK operation, what care should I take?
It is crucial to avoid rubbing the eyes. You should use the eye drops in the prescribed form. It is convenient to use glasses as a protective measure in situations with a risk of trauma or inclusion of particles. Make-up, the sauna and water sports are discouraged during the first few weeks.

Is cataract surgery a complication-free procedure?
No. As in any other surgical technique, there may be complications although the incidence of them is really low and most of them can be satisfactorily resolved. These circumstances are commented on the informed consent forms prior to the surgery that should read carefully and consultation sought in case of any doubt.

How can I solve my cataract problem?
The only definitive solution to the cataract problem is surgery. At present the most suitable technique is phacoemulsification (dissolution by ultrasonic energy of the lens core before removing it via suction). The lens will be replaced by an intraocular lens. This technique allows us to approach most cataracts by making minimal incisions on the ocular surface.

What is the technique most used in refractive surgery?
In young people, the most common technique is lasik, either with microkeratome or with intralase, although superficial ablation techniques (ASA) can also be used in low prescriptions. In patients who do not receive these techniques, phakic lenses can be employed in their different formats.
In older patients and therefore with problems of presbyopia, surgery on the lens with a multifocal intraocular lens implant would be more appropriate.

When should I have a cataract operation?
Surgery can be performed at any point in the growth of the cataract, although surgery in very advanced phases presents a higher rate of complication. In a general sense, perhaps the right moment would be the one in which the patient begins to have difficulties in his or her daily life (work, hobbies, etc.).

When can I resume a normal life after cataract surgery?
During the first days, the patient is advised to take things easy in order avoid risks of blows and to focus on eye care and the completion of the treatment, although in the majority of the cases this does not prevent the patient from engaging in non-risk work activities that do not require significant visual effort.

When can I have LASIK?
Patients from the age of 20 years are operated on if they do not present recent changes in prescription and provided that their pre-operative analyses are free of abnormalities. In some exceptional circumstances, surgery may be performed before that age.

How long does the LASIK procedure last?
The intervention lasts approximately 15 minutes, during which the refractive defect usually present in both eyes is corrected.

Should I remove my contact lenses for LASIK surgery?
We usually recommend removing the soft contact lenses one week before the initial examination and if possible 3-4 weeks before surgery. In the case of semi-rigid contact lenses, these periods should ideally be extended to 2-3 weeks prior to the initial examination. If not, we frequently find alterations in the analyses, which forces us to repeat tests, causing inconvenience for the patient.

Is LASIK a painful intervention?
During the procedure you may feel a sensation of pressure and in the immediate postoperative period, a feeling of grit and / or itching.
Only the superficial ablation techniques (ASA) can generate pain during the first postoperative days. These techniques are indicated in very specific cases (low prescriptions, low pachymetry, etc.). At each stage, the doctor indicates the appropriate technique for each case and the post-operative treatment that this entails.

What is the LASIK technique?
It consists in the creation of a corneal flap of a thickness between 80-120 microns in order to proceed with the corneal stroma carving by excimer laser and the subsequent replacement of all structures to recover the initial anatomy.

Is cataract surgery painful?
Phacoemulsification is a non-invasive surgery that is usually performed with topical (drops) or local anaesthesia, depending on the cases and the degree of patient co-operation. During the immediate post-operative period, the patient may notice stinging or mild discomfort, which, however, does not prevent rest or the use of analgesics.

Can I travel by plane after cataract surgery?
Once operated and after the postoperative review the patient can travel by any form of transport. In exceptional cases where the patient requires special treatment that could affect this situation, he or she will be informed by the ophthalmologist.

What care should I take in the cataract post-operative period?
You should comply with the prescribed treatment with eye drops for 15-30 days and avoid touching the ocular surface during this period. You are advised to use glasses for hazardous work and more restless patients are even advised to sleep with a protective capsule. These measures will be phased out in the different check-ups.

What should I do if I suspect I have cataracts?
You should go to your ophthalmologist for a complete review that will confirm the presence of these cataracts, and rule out that your loss of visual acuity is due to other problems (macular degeneration, refractive changes, etc.) that will require a different solution.

It is a new technological advance that allows us to create the corneal flap using a femtosecond laser, thus avoiding the use of the microkeratome. The precision, as well as the quality and focus of the 'flap', are certainly much better.

What is an intraocular lens?
It is a lens with sufficient dioptric strength to compensate for the defect generated by the removal of the lens, also taking advantage in turn to compensate for any defect in prescription present in the patient prior to surgery. The great majority of them are made of (durable) acrylic material, and fall into two large groups:

  • Monofocal lenses: they provide good visual acuity from afar, with the patient requiring glasses to see up close.
  • Multifocal lenses: they give us good visual acuity at different distances, although we must evaluate each case to select the right lens as there are different models with different performances.

What is a cataract?
It is the loss of transparency in the lens, one of the lenses that is part of the eye´s optical system. The most frequent is the senile cataract, although the cataract can develop because of other reasons.

What is refractive surgery?
Refractive surgery includes all those surgical procedures aimed at correcting a patient´s refractive defect, be it myopia, hypermetropia and / or astigmatism. Surgery acts on the different structures of the eye that have refractive capacity and / or by introducing into the ocular cavity elements with refractive power (intraocular lenses).

What if I move during the LASIK procedure?
Ideally, you should not move during the procedure, which lasts only a few minutes. You can and should remain calm. Your eyelids will be fixed to avoid flickering and the laser has an eye-tracking system to follow the eye in case it moves and through which it can continue the treatment. Of course, you will have a few drops of anaesthetic eye drops so you do not feel any discomfort.

What do I feel if I have cataracts?
Most patients with cataracts report early symptoms of foggy vision and glare in situations of significant light exposure (sunny days, night driving, etc.). As the opacity of the lens is progresses, the symptoms become more pronounced and the patient notices a decrease in progressive visual acuity that makes it difficult for them to perform daily tasks.

Will I have to wear glasses after cataract surgery?
This will depend fundamentally on the implanted intraocular lens. If a monofocal lens is chosen, the patient must use glasses to see closely (reading, sewing, computer, etc.). If, on the other hand, a multifocal lens is chosen, the patient can dispense with the use of spectacles for most daily tasks, although there may be special situations (low light intensity, intermediate distances) where occasional use of glasses may be necessary.
The most important thing is to assess the needs of each patient to select the most appropriate lens in each case, and that the patient knows the visual expectations that the implanted lens can offer.

There is a third option that is monovision, in which one eye is focused for long distance and the other for shorter distance. In these circumstances, the patient dispenses with both the near and far glasses, although it is a situation that is not always well tolerated and leads to loss of stereoscopic vision (relief vision, placement of objects in space), and should therefore be assessed in a very special way for each patient.

Is LASIK surgery risky?
Like all surgeries, it is not without risk, although the incidence of complications is very low, taking into account the number of procedures of this nature that are carried out every year around the world.

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