Many ophthalmologists with refractive errors (myopia, hyperopia or astigmatism) opt to keep their prescription and, therefore, use glasses or contact lenses. It is not surprising that one the questions we get asked over and over again is why they do not undergo surgery using any of the different refractive surgery techniques (laser surgery or intraocular lens implantation) as this would allow them to rely
less on glasses, especially those ophthalmologists who work in this very speciality.
Many ophthalmologists continue to wear glasses in the same way that not all plastic surgeons have gone under the knife.
Although there are many ophthalmologists who have undergone surgery, others may not have done so for any of the following reasons:
1. Incompatibility: not all ophthalmologists are eligible patients as they do not meet the requirements for refractive surgery. The technique where the intraocular lenses areeplaced requires there to be a space within the eye, while in the application of laser techniques a certain corneal thickness is also necessary that not all people have.
2. Lack of aesthetic reasons, since the reasons for refractive surgery are not curative. There are people (and ophthalmologists) who do not mind glasses, or even like to wear them as a fashion accessory. Laser techniques polish the cornea to change its curvature (the myopic eye is larger than normal, while the hyperopic eye is flatter), so this intervention has more to do with comfort, aesthetics, practicing sports or other specific professional activities that make wearing glasses uncomfortable. In this sense, many ophthalmologists do not have a special interest, in the same way that not all plastic surgeons surgeons have gone under the knife.
3. Maintaining myopia can be an advantage, depending on a person’s, profession and hobbies. When short-sighted people who wear glasses take them off for a while they have spectacular near-range vision. For this reason, when many people with myopia wake up at night and pick up their mobile phone in the dark without their glasses on, they bring the device very close to their face because it heps them to see the screen better. Under normal conditions, this would be impossible without the glasses, especially around 45 years when presbyopia sets in. For this reason, many short-sighted people whose working life requires near vision find their refractive defect to be advantageous and ophthalmologists can be an example of this: At eye examinations it is possible to see how the specialist, –if they are short-sighted– removes their glasses to examine us closely with a higher quality of vision. Outside the healthcare field, the same happens to professionals who work with small pieces and very close vision, such as jewelers. In fact, this is one of the reasons why many patients are not good candidates for surgery.
There are also other ophthalmologists who have undergone refractive surgery to reduce their prescription. For many professionals, due to their lifestyle, personal circumstances and preferences, the surgery is worthwhile and also has multiple benefits.
Doctor José Lamarca, ophthalmologist in the areas of Cornea and Ocular surface, Refractive Surgery and Cataracts at the Barraquer Ophthalmology Centre.