Until now eye surgery couldn’t be fine tuned as easily after surgery and as a result visual augmentation could only work so well. But now, a visual treatment has come about that is so profoundly adjustable that it is turning the field of laser eye surgery on its head. The stunning surgery is said to be simpler than other methods and create vision that not only fixes impairments, but is better than 20/20.
The surgery, first used by Bobby Qureshi, an ophthalmic surgeon in the UK, has been taking the world of vision impairment by storm. No more complicated than standard cataract surgery, patients are taken into surgery normally by being knocked out by drugs, then the old damaged lens is removed before the new one is implanted to replace it. The new lens, is a specially designed silica material that is specifically designed to react to a specific form of radiation. After the lens is inserted, the patient is allowed time to heal. After the healing is done, the patient is called back in once again and surgeons fire a beam of ultraviolet laser into the lens, changing its shape so subtly that it can be fine tuned until vision is near perfect. The laser can work to elongate, thin out, or fatten the lens adjusting it like the focus on a camera until everything is better than 20/20. The new type of eyesight is being called HD vision.
“We have the potential here to change patients’ vision to how it was when they were young,” Qureshi said, “The change is so accurate that we can even make the lens bifocal or varifocal, so as well as giving them good vision at a distance we can give them good vision for reading.” The technology is being hailed by many optometrists as the most important medical discovery in the field of ophthalmology in over sixty years. Gill Balfour, one of the first patients to receive the surgery agrees, “It’s absolutely incredible. To think it’s been tailor-made for you, matching any imperfections. It’s the way forward, isn’t it?”
The surgery, though incredible, also comes with some down-sides both verified and unverified. Since it is new, the long-term effects are unknown just like any cutting edge surgery. The effects of the warping plastic within the eye are unknown, though they have been approved to be safe enough to be implemented and are not so far suspected to be in any way dangerous. Of course the implimentation of lasers to fix lenses isn’t anything new. Laser topographical surgery has been around for several years with a high degree of success, but the use of a synthetic lens that can be warped again and again and fine tuned without any additional surgery is definitely a step toward the future. The only question that I have been unable to find an answer for: If ultraviolet light effects the configuration of the lens, is it more dangerous for astronomers and nature lovers who find their eyes come into contact with a high amount of ultraviolet radiation? No doubt as the process gains in popularity this and many other questions will be answered. In the meantime, this surgery is a definite vision of the future.