Ditch the glasses or contacts and dive into life

I love the water. In fact, when I’m not working, you can often find me on it or in it. From scuba-diving to swimming, surfing to kayaking, we are a nation obsessed with all things aquatic. And why not? Getting out on the water is excellent exercise and awesome fun.

But … if you have vision problems, it can be hard to get maximum enjoyment from your aqua activities. I had eye surgery two years ago, and haven’t looked back (pardon the pun). Seriously, I can see details so clearly now, like the drops of water trickling down my girls’ faces as we play in the pool, or the bubbles of foam bursting from waves breaking on the beach.

Aussies and water sports

From the beach to rivers, lakes and pools, Australians are renowned for their love of the water. According to research by Roy Morgan, swimming is Australia’s most popular sporting activity, with around one in two kids and one in ten adults regularly diving in. Surfing and bodysurfing also rank in the top 20 favourites.

Needing corrective vision devices can make enjoying these sports more challenging. But there is an alternative—eye surgery can have you back in the water fast, with vision equally as good, but minus the hassle of glasses or contacts.

The laser advantage

If glasses or contact lenses are cramping your aquatic style, it could be time to consider LASIK. If you are over 18 and wear glasses for long-sightedness, short-sightedness or astigmatism (irregularity in the shape of the cornea), you could be a good candidate for this procedure.

This surgery is performed by a specially trained ophthalmologist (eye specialist), using laser light to painlessly reshape the surface layer of the cornea.

The excimer laser is a type of laser, which emits concentrated pulses of ultraviolet light onto the eye’s surface. It vapourises tiny amounts of tissue with each pulse, carefully sculpting the corneal surface. The procedure is meticulously controlled using computer technology.

There are two types of laser corrective surgery. First on the scene was PRK (photorefractive keratectomy), in which the surgeon gently polishes away the outer skin of the eye (epithelium) and uses the laser light to sculpt the corneal tissue into a new shape, which corrects the refractive error.

By far the most common procedure is LASIK (laser assisted in situ keratomileusis), which offers the least discomfort and fastest recovery time of all laser eye procedures. It is very effective for most short-sighted (myopic) and long-sighted (hyperopic) people, and for those with astigmatism.

It takes five to ten minutes, and is performed using local anaesthetic eye drops. This means a speedy recovery time and no need to take significant time off work. And you can be back in the water in a couple of weeks, with permanently corrected vision.

Experience matters

When you’re learning to swim or dive, you want a teacher who knows their stuff. When it comes to your vision, finding an experienced doctor is even more important.

Dr Noel Alpins AM is a pioneer in the field of corrective laser surgery. He has been performing cataract and refractive surgery since the 1990s, and has treated over 20,000 patients with the excimer laser.

He is recognised nationally and internationally as a cataract and refractive surgeon, and as a world authority on the treatment of myopia (short-sightedness) and astigmatism with the excimer laser, having received many awards for innovations in the field.

Dr Alpins and his team of registered and highly-trained optometrists, orthoptists and office staff at NewVision Clinics are committed to providing the highest standard of patient care. Your vision is their passion. The close-knit team work across all three clinics, guaranteeing continuity and consistency of care.

If your appetite’s been whetted

All patients undergo a thorough, obligation-free assessment of vision, ocular health, needs and expectations before any treatment is decided upon.

For more information, check out the great resources across their website. Alternatively, speak to one of the friendly and professional staff at NewVision Clinics on 1800 20 20 20. They look forward to discussing your vision needs, and organising an appointment to suit your schedule. To book a no-obligation consultation, head to the online booking form.