When Should You Consider Ophthalmic Surgery?

Cosmetic surgery is often performed for aesthetic purposes, but your typical nip-and-tuck also benefits those who really medically need it like those who suffer from glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, dry eyes and blurred vision caused by lachrymal dysfunction. Even better, while aesthetic procedures are often not covered by insurance, surgeries to improve or correct vision are often reimbursable in whole or in part (depending on your insurance carrier). So if you have had standard treatments for these ophthalmic conditions but have not responded well, going the surgical route may produce better and longer-lasting results.

Blepharoplasty, for example, cosmetically alters the eyelids for a more refreshed and rejuvenated appearance, but the same procedure can also benefit those who suffer from ptosis (TOE-sis), a condition wherein the upper eyelids droop close to the pupil such that it reduces the person’s field of vision. Among children, ptosis may even slow down their development due to limited vision and poor hand-eye coordination. Reconstructing the eyelids surgically is the only solution to improve this condition.

More severe visual disturbances also benefit from surgical intervention. Macular degeneration, for instance, involves the breakdown of the macula, that part of the retina responsible for high-resolution central vision. When this happens, the person experiences gradual loss of central vision crucial in recognizing faces, reading, cooking, driving and doing tasks that require fine hand-eye coordination. This breakdown of the macula can progress to growth of new blood vessels beneath the retina that leaks blood and fluid and blocks the light-sensitive retinal cells. In laser photocoagulation, an intense beam of light is used to seal off this leakage and delay vision loss.

Cataracts, the leading cause of blindness in the United States, are among the vision problems that are easily corrected by surgery. The procedure involves removing the eye’s clouded natural lens and replacing them with intraocular multi-focal lens to restore excellent vision at all distances and under all lighting conditions. The operation is an outpatient procedure and lasts as short as 15 to 30 minutes.

Even those with tear duct problems find relief from surgical intervention that opens a new tear passageway to moisten chronically dry eyes. Tears create a protective covering on the eyes and enable light to enter the eyes so its absence creates a host of visual disturbances. Surgery involves insertion of a Jones tube so tears drain directly to the eyes to maintain its baseline level of moisture.