Refractive Vision Problems And Lasik

The process of LASIK laser eye surgery is an extremely complex procedure. It’s used primarily to repair ocular damage resulting from three specific conditions, all falling under the umbrella term of “refractive eye issues.” Understanding your refractive vision problems and LASIK as a treatment option for them will help you make the best decision for your situation.

Common Refractive Vision Problems and LASIK
Three common eye problems that call for LASIK treatments are astigmatism, hyperopia (farsightedness) and myopia (nearsightedness).

  • Astigmatism is a problem often coupled with myopia and hyperopia. It is an irregularity or deformity of the eye, specifically in the cornea, or lens. Astigmatism causes images received by the eye to be distorted, like an out-of-focus shot in a film.
  • Hyperopia causes its sufferers to have difficulty seeing objects that are close to them. Individuals with hyperopia are referred to as being “far-sighted.”
  • Myopia gains its common name from its primary symptom. Those who suffer from myopia have difficulty seeing objects beyond a certain distance. Specific problem distances vary on a case-by-case basis. Individuals with myopia are referred to as being “near-sighted.”
  • Other Forms of Refractive Vision Surgery
    These three problems are the most common conditions treated by refractive surgery, which is intended to improve the eye’s ability to focus on images and reduce or eliminate instances of blurred or distorted vision.

    Before the advent of LASIK, refractive surgery was performed using three methods. One is called radial keratotomy (RK), and was conducted by changing the cornea’s shape by making tiny incisions in it with a scalpel.

    Another is called photorefractive keratectomy (PRK), and uses a laser rather than a knife to reshape the cornea, although in a different way than LASIK.

    Still another type of refractive surgery is called thermokeratoplasty. This procedure uses heat to reshape the cornea. Although a laser can be the heat source in this instance, it is a different type than that used for PRK and LASIK surgeries.

    Alternatives to LASIK Surgery
    Other devices can be used to correct natural deformities of the cornea. These include corneal ring segments inserted into the stroma (the middle layer of the cornea), as well as specialized contact lenses, which can temporarily reshape the cornea in a process called orthokeratology.

    Understanding how LASIK surgery works can help you decide if it’s the best treatment for you.