A refractive error is a common eye disorder which is observed very often. It occurs when the eye cannot clearly focus the images from the outside world. The result of refractive errors is blurred vision, which is sometimes so severe that it causes visual impairment. It is disease which can’t be prevented but can be diagnosed.
The four most common refractive errors are:
- myopia (nearsightedness): difficulty in seeing distant objects clearly;
- hyperopia (farsightedness): difficulty in seeing close objects clearly;
- astigmatism: distorted vision resulting from an irregularly curved cornea, the clear covering of the eyeball.
- presbyopia: which leads to difficulty in reading or seeing at arm’s length, it is linked to ageing and occurs almost universally.
LASIK stands for laser in situ keratomileusis, which means using a laser underneath a corneal flap (in situ) to reshape the cornea (keratomileusis). This procedure uses a highly specialized laser specially designed to treat refractive errors, improve vision, and reduce or eliminate the need for glasses or contact lenses. This laser procedure alters the shape of the cornea and makes the vision clearer.
A specially trained and experienced eye surgeon first creates a precise, thin hinged corneal flap using a microkeratome. The surgeon then pulls back the flap to expose the underlying corneal tissue, and then the excimer laser ablates (reshapes) the cornea in a unique pre-specified pattern for each patient. The flap is then gently repositioned onto the underlying cornea without sutures.
Refractive surgery is not for everyone. In addition to this if you wish to undergo lasik surgery you need to go for a complete eye exam to find out if you are a candidate for surgery.
For most candidates, LASIK surgery usually involves little pain and recovery is rapid. Other benefits may include:
- LASIK can correct a wide range of refractive errors including nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism of varying degrees.
- LASIK can be repeated to correct the vision further.
- The eyes stabilize within three months after LASIK surgery.
- The eye is not structurally weakened.
- LASIK usually causes little or no scarring of the cornea.
- Post-operative care is usually limited to using eye drops for a week after surgery.