Eye care has changed dramatically over the last century. Poor eyesight is no longer a problem in search of a solution, and many of the annoying solutions of the past have been replaced with more convenient options. You now have more choices than ever to correct your eyesight, and to live an unencumbered life.
The contact lens revolution
Contact lenses first came into reality roughly in the middle of the last century, with the first plastic contact lenses manufactured in 1939. It took a long time for contact lenses to become widely adopted as the first plastic lenses were hard contact lenses and were a challenge to wear for many people. The first soft lenses were released in the 1970s, and these proved to really kick off the contact lens revolution.
Plastic contact lenses introduced higher levels of comfort, and as manufacturing improved over the years, contact lens manufacturers were able to provide wearers with lenses at very high prescriptions and lenses that are able to treat more advanced conditions such as astigmatism. The maximum time that a person could wear lenses was always restricted, however, until the dawn of silicone hydrogel contact lenses. This new, breathable material has been a breakthrough and allows patients to wear contact lenses for extended periods, with many lenses approved for wear while sleeping.
Laser eye surgery
As much as contact lenses freed patients from wearing glasses, they are not a permanent fix. Laser eye surgery, however, has the potential to completely cure any problems that you may have with your eyesight, whether you’re nearsighted, farsighted, or struggle with astigmatism. A lot of people think that laser eye surgery is a brand-new technology, but the ability to perform so-called refractive surgery was pioneered 50 years ago – a bit later than contact lenses.
However, the ability to reshape the cornea, and thereby correct vision, is now very commonplace,leading to widespread clinics – you can even find a LASIK provider in Des Moines, Iowa. It was only about 20 to 25 years ago when laser eye surgery was released as a service to patients, yet the technology has improved remarkably over the years. Very extreme eye problems can now be corrected, and healing times are also shortened. Though previous procedures involved reshaping the surface of the eye, known as PRK, newer laser eye surgery methods involve making incisions in a thin flap directly on the cornea.
Improvements in treating other conditions
It is not only vision correction that has seen huge advances, but many different health issues that your eyes can experience are now also much easier to treat. Problems such as cataracts can normally be corrected with surgery very easily. There are also improving treatments for diseases such as glaucoma and macular degeneration. The overall improvement in individual healthcare also impacts eyecare, with better treatments and early diagnosis for diabetes, for example, helping to prevent eye problems later in life.
Finally, it’s the overall improvement in the availability of eye care that has made a difference to the eyesight of millions of people. As long as you regularly visit an optician to check the health of your eyes, you can look forward to decades of good, comfortable vision to help you navigate through life.