LASIK is an acronym for the long, drawn-out term of laser in situ keratomileusis. This process refers to placing a laser beneath the corneal flat, or in situ, in order to reshape the cornea. An excimer laser is employed that is specially designed to enhance vision, treat refractive errors, or eliminate the need to wear contact lenses or glasses. The idea behind the surgery then is to reshape the cornea, or the transparent covering over the eye.
How the Procedure Is Performed
In order to facilitate the procedure, the surgeon creates an accurate and thin-hinged flap using a tool called a microkeratome. He or she then pulls back the corneal flap to expose the tissue. The excimer laser is then used to ablate or reshape the cornea according to the vision needs of the patient. After this part of the process, the flap is carefully replaced on the underlying part of the cornea. No suturing is needed during the procedure.
How People Focus
When you study the human eye, you will learn that the cornea, or the front surface of the eye, and the lens on the inside are used for focusing. Therefore, these two parts of the eye are primarily used to focus incoming rays of light onto the retinal surface.
How a Refractive Error Develops
If your vision is excellent then, the lens and cornea are perfectly aligned with the eye’s length. In turn, all the images are clearly seen. A mismatch in the optical system, however, can lead to what is called a refractive error. When this occurs, images are blurred at certain distances.
The three types of refractive errors that are corrected by LASIK eye surgery include the following:
- Myopia – Also called nearsightedness, myopia causes distant object to appear blurry and objects that are close to look clearer.
- Hyperopia – Known as farsightedness, hyperopia leads to seeing near objects as blurry whilst distant objects are much easier to see.
- Astigmatism – This type of refractive error is defined by a distortion of the lens or corneal shape. As a result, multiple images appear on the retina. In turn, distant objects appear blurred. Many people who have myopia or hyperopia have an astigmatism as well.
When contact lenses or glasses are worn, they are used to correct refractive errors by bending a light’s rays in such a way so the error is corrected. LASIK is therefore designed to correct the error, thereby reducing the need for a visual aid.
What Happens When the Eye Ages
Often, LASIK is helpful for correcting the refractive errors that occur due to age, as the aging process can change the lens of the eye. When we are young, we can readily focus on close objects. However, this ability is hampered over time as the natural lens loses its ability to alter in shape. When this happens, presbyopia develops, which leads to the need to use reading glasses or other visual enhancements. If you currently rely on glasses or contact lenses to see then, make an appointment for a LASIK consultation. Find out if you are a good candidate for the surgery.