The cornea is the part of the eye that helps focus light to create an image on the retina. The bending and focusing of light is also known as refraction. There are three basic types of refractive errors: nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia) and astigmatism (2 different curvatures of the cornea, lens, or both). Persons with nearsightedness have more difficulty seeing distant objects as clearly as near objects. Persons with farsightedness have more difficulty seeing near objects as clearly as distant objects. However, depending on your farsighted prescription you may notice difficulty seeing in the distance. Astigmatism is a distortion of the image on the retina caused by irregularities in the cornea or lens of the eye. Combinations of nearsightedness and astigmatism, as well as farsightedness and astigmatism, are common.
LASIK surgery, short for laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, is the most commonly performed surgery to correct these refractive errors.
In LASIK eye surgery, an instrument called a microkeratome is used to create a thin, circular flap in the cornea. However, advanced technology is allowing a laser to create this flap for certain individuals. The flap is then folded back and a cool ultraviolet light beam precisely removes very small bits of tissue from the cornea to reshape it. When the cornea is reshaped in the correct way, it works better to focus light into the eye and onto the retina. The flap is then laid back in place over the cornea.
LASIK is extremely safe and very effective for correcting appropriate prescriptions. We always strive to educate our patients of the advantages and potential negatives of any procedure or surgery. After undergoing LASIK, some patients notice their eyes are slightly drier than before. Because of this, we recommend using non-preserved artificial tears for 3-6 months following the procedure. Most of these patients report a resolution in their dryness by month 6, although a very small percentage notice dryness for longer periods. In addition, some patients may notice ‘halos’ around lights following the procedure. This is secondary to light reflecting off of the edge of the flap created during the procedure. This also improves over the months following the surgery, however a small percentage of patients notice these halos for longer periods.
All of our physicians work closely with the leading surgeons in the area to ensure you receive the best care possible. As always, should you have any questions about LASIK or would like to talk with one of our doctors regarding the procedure, please contact our office and set up a LASIK consultation.