Refractive surgery is the term used to describe surgical procedures that correct common vision problems (nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and presbyopia) to reduce your dependence on prescription eyeglasses and/or contact lenses. This surgery offers a variety of options to persons with a variety of vision issues and can dramatically improve vision to offer the individual better vision moving forward.
Nearsightedness, or myopia, is the most common refractive error of the eye, and it has become more prevalent in recent years. Refractive surgery can reduce or even eliminate your need for glasses or contacts. In LASIK, a thin flap in the cornea is created using either a microkeratome blade or a femtosecond laser. The surgeon folds back the flap, and then removes some corneal tissue underneath using an excimer laser. The flap is then laid back in place, covering the area where the corneal tissue was removed. With nearsighted people, the goal of LASIK is to flatten the too-steep cornea.
Hyperopia, or farsightedness, is a common vision problem, affecting about a fourth of the population. People with hyperopia can see distant objects very well but have difficulty focusing on objects that are up close. The condition is sometimes referred to as “hypermetropia” rather than hyperopia. LASIK treatments given to farsighted people aim for a steeper cornea.
Astigmatism is a very common vision problem. Despite having a somewhat scary-sounding name, astigmatism is not an eye disease — it’s simply a refractive error like nearsightedness and farsightedness, and it can be corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses, and refractive surgery. Astigmatism typically is caused by the front surface of the eye (cornea) having an asymmetrical shape. Refractive surgery or LASIK can also correct astigmatism by smoothing an irregular cornea into a more normal shape.