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Surge in glass removal surgeries amid the pandemic

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Dr Mahipal Singh Sachdev
While wearing masks have become a routine part of our daily lives amid the pandemic, the complications for the people with spectacles have only increased. Since mask and glasses both are an important part, the trouble of fogging the lenses is inevitable. With such complications at hand, people are now opting for implantable lenses.
While one of the best ways to avoid fogging of lenses is to stick tapes around but this cannot be done always. In view of the same, many people are now opting for glass removal surgeries.
The procedure combines state-of-the-art computer technology with advanced precision. Unlike earlier techniques, LASIK treats tissue of the cornea and reshapes it in a manner that reduces the refractive error. The procedure involves the creation of a thin flap of cornea with an instrument known as a microkeratome.
The flap, which remains attached on one side, is then folded back. Next, the cool laser light from the Excimer laser “ablates” i.e., it removes the pre-determined amount of tissue to reshape the cornea with great accuracy and precision to correct the individual’s refractive error.
The cornea is made flatter to treat near-sightedness, steeper to treat farsightedness and/or more spherical to treat astigmatism. Finally, after the laser ablation, the corneal flap is laid back in its original position, where it binds instantly. Due to cornea’s extraordinary natural bonding qualities, no stitches or sutures are required. Even an eye patch is not required. The entire procedure is painless takes just a couple of minutes or less and is done under topical anesthesia (only drops are put in the eye to numb the cornea). Visual recovery is rapid and there is little or no post-operative pain.
In countries like Singapore and Taiwan, such surgeries have seen a 20% surge in the recent times, while people in our country have been kept these surgeries restricted to get into army, railway jobs, sports, marriages etc. Now, there has been a paradigm shift in the number of people opting for glass removal procedures pertaining only to the fact that wearing mask is necessary to avoid COVID infection. Through refractive surgeries one can now get rid of glasses permanently and there are two types of procedures for this, Lasik or Smile.
The ReLEx SMILE method is not only a 100% blade free approach to laser vision correction, but is a step superior to the No-Blade approach of Femto-LASIK. In Femto-LASIK, a laser is used to create the corneal flap, which is then folded back by the surgeon to perform the LASIK procedure. While Femto-LASIK or No Blade LASIK is superior to the more traditional method of microkeratome blade LASIK, it still means that a corneal flap needs to be created in your eye.
The ReLEx SMILE method, by contrast, enables the surgeon to perform laser vision correction without any flap at all. There is no danger that the flap can get displaced, either immediately after the procedure or even years after the procedure. And the corneal surface cells hardly get disturbed during the procedure, which means that there is hardly any pain or discomfort during the procedure.
Being a daycare procedure, it hardly takes 15 to 20 minutes and there is no need for local anesthesia or injections as only a drop is used for this procedure. While the only requirement before the procedure is the stability of the glass number and other optic ailments under control.
(The author is Director, Center For Sight Group of Eye Hospitals)



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