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Freedom from glasses - A guide on how to reduce dependency on glasses

Living with glasses can be a daily challenge for many, from smudges and scratches to intermittent fogging, and then the frustrating search if you misplace your frames! So, it is not surprising when patients come to us looking to break free from the constant reliance on their glasses.

There are many myths and misconceptions about ways to reduce the need or dependency on glasses, for example:

Myth: You can get rid of glasses naturally

Natural home remedies can potentially improve overall eye health, but claims of specific remedies significantly reducing the need for glasses, unfortunately, lack evidence and scientific validation. 

Strategies like maintaining a healthy lifestyle, taking herbal supplements, eye exercises, reducing screen time, and getting adequate sleep can support better eye health, but not eliminate the need for visual aids.

Myth: Wearing glasses will increase your prescription

The truth is, that wearing glasses does not increase your prescription or dependence on glasses. Glasses are used to adjust the way light enters the eye, to maintain optimal vision and prevent the development of symptoms such as headaches and eyestrain. Small changes in prescription over time are generally due to age and natural changes in eye health.  So, relying on an old incorrect prescription with the hope of reducing progression or dependence on glasses may only result in unwanted eye strain.

So how can you ‘get rid of glasses’?

Firstly, the term ‘get rid of glasses’ suggests the complete elimination of the need for glasses, which is not always achievable for everyone. Some people may reduce their dependency on glasses but still require them for certain tasks or conditions even after undergoing procedures to improve their vision. Always consult with an eye care professional for personalised guidance on your potential to eliminate or reduce dependency on glasses. 

The only way to reduce your dependency on glasses is refractive surgery. Advancements in medical technology have provided multiple surgical options to correct vision and reduce dependency on glasses.

Laser Eye Surgery

Laser eye surgery is one of the most popular and widely performed refractive surgeries. The main types include: 

  • LASIK (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis) which involves creating a thin flap on the cornea, to expose underlying tissue for laser reshaping. The flap is then repositioned and adheres naturally without the need for stitches.
  • PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy) which involves laser reshaping on the cornea, without creating a flap. Following the laser treatment, a protective contact lens is placed on the eye to aid the healing process. 
  • SMILE (Small Incision Lenticule Extraction) where the cornea is reshaped by removing a small, disc-shaped piece of tissue within the cornea

The choice between the type of laser procedure depends on factors such as corneal thickness, prescription, and individual preference.

Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE)

RLE, also known as clear lens exchange or lens replacement surgery, is a surgical procedure where the natural lens of the eye is replaced with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL). The IOL is implanted at the time of the surgery, and its power is calculated specifically for your eye. The steps in the surgery are the same as for cataract surgery, except in this case a clear lens is removed rather than a cataract (cloudy lens). The procedure is performed purely to provide reduced dependence on glasses or contact lenses and provides an option for patients who may not be suitable for laser refractive surgery.

Implantable Collamer Lens (ICL)

ICL implantation surgery, also known as implantable contact lens surgery, involves the insertion of a specialised lens inside the eye without removing the natural lens. The lens is positioned between the iris and the natural lens. ICL implantation is often recommended for individuals with high prescriptions or those who are not suitable for corneal refractive surgeries. 

From discomfort to maintenance, the inconvenience associated with glasses and contact lenses has driven many individuals to seek other vision correction alternatives. From laser eye surgery to RLE and ICL implantation, there are other options for those looking to break free from the daily struggles of traditional visual aids. 

Choosing a surgical method to eliminate the need for glasses is a significant decision that depends on various factors, including the type and amount of refractive error, overall eye health and visual requirements. Consultation with an experienced refractive eye surgeon is the first step towards determining the most appropriate option for you in your quest for decreased spectacle dependency.