Eye centre offers options

2017-04-19 06:00

An eye problem may be congenital or acquired. Most people who need glasses are near-sighted, far-sighted or have astigmatism. Most people will need glasses when they are older than 45 to 50 years, if the lense is no longer strong enough to focus light rays on the retina. Modern technology provides different options for those who do not want to wear glasses. The question remains: What is the right option for you?

1. Contact lenses:

Contact lenses are thin, transparent plastic lenses that are placed directly on the eye. Hard and soft lenses are available. Hard lenses are used for more serious eye problems and are more expensive, but can be used for +/- 2 years. Soft lenses are used for smaller eye problems, are more comfortable and can stay in the eye for extended periods of time.

Benefits:

No glasses.

Better peripheral vision than when wearing glasses.

No enlargement or diminution of the visual image.

Disadvantages:

Not all people can tolerate glass lenses, especially in dry climates.

Contact lenses must be removed regularly and be placed in a sterile liquid before you may put it in your eyes again.

Wearing contact lenses for long periods of time may cause eye infections, dry eyes and lowered provision of oxygen to the eye.

2. Laser:

With laser, the curve of the cornea is permanently changed in order for the patient to not have to wear glasses or contact lenses any more. Laser can correct near-sightedness, far-sightedness and astigmatism. Laser is ideal for patients older than 21 years who cannot endure contact lenses.

Benefits:

No glasses needed for +/- 35 to 40 years.

Patients do not have to change or clean contact lenses regularly.

Disadvantages:

Some patients’ corneas are too thin for laser.

Most medical aids do not pay for laser.

Some patients need a second laser procedure later.

3. Lens implant:

Modern multi-focal lenses can be implanted in the eye so that a patient does not have to wear glasses any more. Multi-focal lenses have different zones for near and far vision. Multi-focal lenses are ideal for older patients who already have cataracts.

Benefits:

No glasses are needed for near or far vision.

Most medical aids pay for lense implants.

Disadvantages:

Some patients have lower contrast vision and see ‘halos’ in twilight.

Most medical aids require additional payment on the implant of multi-focal lenses.

Research is done on corneal implants and accommodative lenses.

The ideal option for each patient depends on his or her age, occupation, hobbies, specific needs and funds. It is best to make an appointment with your nearest ophthalmologist or optometrist to discuss your specific needs and options.

  • Dr Niel van Wyk

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