Tuesday 12 December 2017

New guidelines on eye surgery

Complications occur in less than 5pc of laser eye cases.
Complications occur in less than 5pc of laser eye cases.
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Tens of thousands of Irish people have been able to throw away their spectacles since the arrival of laser surgery.

The procedure formally known as refractive surgery allows people to have their eyesight corrected with a procedure which usually involves reshaping the cornea - the transparent layer covering the front of the eye.

The Irish College of Ophthalmologists, the training body for eye doctors in Ireland and the medical experts on eye care, has now published new guidelines on this kind of surgery.

They have been concerned at the hard-sell approach by some clinics which they fear do not spell out all the possible risks.

Eye surgeon Billy Power said: "Our issue is with the promise of outcomes that are not always possible and advertising them in a way that trivialises surgery."

Read more: Five ways to get bright eyes and banish dark circles

Complications occur in less than 5pc of cases. Some people have a problem with dry eyes in the months after surgery. Artificial tears can help with this.

Other patients experience glare or halo effects when driving at night in the weeks or months after treatment.

This is more likely if a high degree of long- or short-sightedness is corrected. In rare cases, too much thinning of the eye wall can make the shape of the eye unstable after treatment. Severe loss of vision is very rare.

See www.eyedoctors.ie

Call, don't fall

Simple falls can cause severe disability and even death for some elderly people. But fall prevention techniques can make a huge difference.

Staff at Waterford Hospital have been active in a prevention strategy in this area and report that in 2013 the number of falls within the hospital were reduced by 8pc and - most importantly - there was a 62.5pc reduction in falls where a patient could have been harmed.

To help, orange stickers highlight the patients at risk of falling on the whiteboard of each ward and orange cards are placed at the bedside of patients within the ward.

Orange signs are available throughout the wards to remind patients to call if they need help. They are entitled "call, don't fall". A copy of the HSE's fall prevention booklet is available at hse.ie

Keep in shape to protect joints

When it comes to managing osteoarthritis, the single most important thing you can do is to maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight puts added stress on joints, particularly knees, causing pain and worsening arthritis damage.

Just being 10lbs overweight increases the force on your knees by 30 to 40lbs with every step you take.

Being obese is linked to a four- to five-fold increase in the risk of developing osteoarthritis. Almost any weight loss can have beneficial effects, especially in reducing pain.

Many people set themselves up for failure by pegging their goals too high. So, if you begin with unreasonable goals, you're going to be disappointed, and for too many people, that spells the end. Swimming, water aerobics, walking and light resistance exercises are best for not straining the joints.

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