Eye surgery is used to treat a variety of conditions, including cataracts, glaucoma, detached retinas, retinal tears, diabetic retinopathy, and nearsightedness or farsightedness.
What are some types of eye surgery?
Common types of eye surgery are explained below.
Blepharoplasty. To repair droopy eyelids, the doctor makes a small incision or incisions to remove skin and muscle and to remove or reposition fat.
A cataract is a cloudy area in the lens of your eye that can make it hard to see clearly. The doctor uses tiny tools to remove the cloudy lens and replace it with an artificial lens.
The doctor uses a special tool to keep your eye open while removing the damaged part of your cornea and replacing it with healthy donor tissue. Doctors can do a full thickness corneal transplant (penetrating keratoplasty) or a partial thickness transplant (lamellar keratoplasty).
For glaucoma implants, the doctor inserts a tiny tube called a shunt into the white of your eye; the tube helps extra fluid drain out of your eye, lowering your eye pressure. In a trabeculectomy, the doctor creates a tiny opening in the top of your eye, under your eyelid, to allow the extra fluid to drain.
LASIK (laser in-situ keratomileusis). In this laser eye surgery, the doctor uses a strong beam of light (laser) to change the shape of the cornea, which makes vision clearer for adults with nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. Photorefractive keratectomy, commonly called PRK, may be used as a LASIK alternative for patients with dry eyes or thin corneas.
Refractive lens exchange (RLE)
This is an alternative to LASIK for older adults who are no longer good candidates for laser eye surgery. Like cataract surgery, your ophthalmologist or eye surgeon will remove the natural lens from your eye since it no longer refracts light effectively. Then, an artificial intraocular lens (IOL) will take its place.
There are several procedures for repairing a damaged or detached retina, some of which may be used in combination. To create small scars that will fix a tear or hole and help hold your retina in place, the doctor may apply a freezing probe (cryopexy) or shine a laser to make a small burn (photocoagulation). In scleral buckle surgery, the surgeon places a tiny, flexible band around the white part of your eye (the sclera); this band gently pushes the sides of your eye toward your retina to help it reattach. In pneumatic retinopexy, the doctor injects a small air bubble into the middle of your eyeball to push your retina back into place before applying the freezing or burning treatment; the bubble will disappear on its own over time. A vitrectomy involves the use of a suction tool to remove most of the vitreous (the gel-like substance that fills the eye), allowing the surgeon better access to the retina and providing room for the bubble.
Eye muscle surgery
Strabismus is a condition in which the eyes don’t move together as a pair; one eye might drift in, out, up, or down. Surgery isn’t the only treatment option, but when it is needed, a surgeon attempts to restore the eye muscles to a proper position by using techniques that weaken or strengthen them. This could involve removing a section of muscle or reattaching a muscle to a different point in the eye.
The innermost layer of the cornea is the endothelium. If this tissue is damaged rather than outer layers, this procedure replaces that damaged tissue with donor tissue by removing the damaged endothelium through a small hole in the cornea.
Macular degeneration surgery
Macular degeneration is a disease of the macula, the center of the retina, causing the loss of your central vision. “Wet” macular degeneration occurs when abnormal blood vessels form underneath and around the retina and begin to leak, damaging the macula. Injections of anti-VEGF medications can slow the growth of abnormal blood vessels, but there are few other treatments, as this degenerative disease is difficult to slow once it begins.
Some people have severe refractive errors that require surgery, but they are not good candidates for LASIK. The phakic intraocular lens (IOL) is sometimes called an implantable contact lens since it helps the natural lens of the eye to more effectively refract light.
Your ophthalmologist will determine whether your phakic IOL should sit in front of or behind the iris of the eye to improve refraction. While a flap will be created in the cornea, there is no corneal reshaping and your lens will not need to be removed, which supports shorter healing time.