Refractive surgery

Refractive surgery aims to correct errors like nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and presbyopia. Several different procedures are considered refractive. Some reshape the cornea to allow accurate pass-through of light into the eye, other involve implantation of a lens to correct vision issues. Of the refractive surgeries available, LASIK is the most common.

People who have myopia (nearsightedness) see objects at a distance out of focus. This is because the light entering the eye focuses in front of the retina, not on it. In these patients, the eye is longer and the corneal curve is steep. Refractive surgery reduces the steepness of the cornea to allow images to be pushed closer to the retina.

People who have hyperopia (farsightedness) see objects clear at a distance but not up close. This is a result of a short eyeball or a cornea without enough curvature. Refractive surgery to correct hyperopia will elongate the steepness of the cornea to allow better focusing power.

For astigmatism patients, light entering the eye is scattered due to an irregularly shaped cornea, resulting in distorted images. Refractive surgery will reshape the irregular cornea to make it more symmetrical. This allows the image to be focused on the retina.

Good candidates for refractive surgery include:

  • Patients who wish to lessen the situations in which they require corrective eyewear or contact lenses.
  • Patients who have healthy eyes
  •  Patients who understand that they may still need corrective lenses to achieve the clearest vision

In general, results from refractive eye surgeries are positive, but there is the possibility of side effects that can include infection, delayed healing, worse vision, haziness, halo effect, or flap damage. It is important for you to understand these side effects and your doctor can discuss what to do if they occur.


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Determining which refractive surgery is best for you can be done with the help of a qualified surgeon. During your examination, your doctor can evaluate the condition of your vision and the health of your eyes and discuss your options. Additionally, it is important to discuss your needs and goals to help determine the procedure that will match your lifestyle best.

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