LASIK is a popular vision correction procedure that people often think can treat a wide range of eye conditions. However, LASIK can only correct refractive errors like astigmatism, farsightedness, and nearsightedness. These conditions cause blurry vision because the light is not being focused correctly on the retina. Other vision issues like glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration are different and require a different treatment approach. Here’s more about LASIK, how it works, and the refractive errors it corrects.
What is LASIK?
LASIK is an acronym that stands for laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis. The term “keratomileusis” has Greek roots that mean “cutting into the cornea”. LASIK is a surgical procedure where an experienced LASIK eye surgery specialist located in Fort Myers uses a laser on the cornea to change its shape, which helps light focus correctly on the retina.
What Does LASIK Eye Surgery Involve?
There are several variations of laser refractive surgery, but all of them focus on reshaping the cornea. The most typical laser refractive surgery procedure is LASIK. Typically, images are focused on the retina by having light pass through a clear layer of cells called the cornea. The more perfect the shape of the eye’s cornea is, the better it can focus and direct light to its intended target – in this case, on your retina. With astigmatism, nearsightedness, or farsightedness, a frequent issue is that the cornea’s shape causes optical errors, which cause the light to focus in front or behind the retina. Resulting in blurring of the image projected to the retina.
Traditionally, blurry vision from refractive errors meant that people needed glasses, or contacts to correct the issue. Today, there is a surgical alternative that can correct these errors and give people nearly perfect vision without the need for corrective eyewear.
How Does LASIK Work?
By reshaping the cornea, a laser can resolve the vision problem. The cornea has several layers, but in LASIK the surgeon will focus on the thicker middle layer since reshaping the other layers can be harmful because they are thin and fragile. To access the middle layer, your surgeon creates a flap in the top layer using either a Femtolaser. Next, the surgeon folds back the flap to access the middle cornea layer Using an excimer laser to carefully direct an ultraviolet light beam at precise locations on this layer, your surgeon reshapes the cornea’s contours to correct your particular vision problem. Once complete, your doctor will fold back your corneal flap to cover the middle layer.
What Are Common Refractive Errors?
Millions of people worldwide suffer from refractive errors such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism. Refractive errors are typically diagnosed in childhood or early adulthood when blurred vision becomes an issue.
The most typical refractive error is
- Myopia or nearsightedness is where distant objects are blurry but close ones in focus, since light focuses in front of the retina instead of on the retina because the eye is too long.
- Hyperopia or farsightedness occurs when close objects are not in focus. Still, distant objects are because the eye is too short, so the light focuses behind your retina rather than directly on it.
- In astigmatism, a person has difficulty seeing clearly near and far away due to irregularities in their corneas that cause light to scatter. This scattering often results in blurred vision regardless of distance.
How Do You Know What Treatment Will Improve Your Eyesight?
Getting LASIK is a life-changing event, but you need to be sure it’s right for you before committing. You need to be sure that the blurring in your vision is not due to some other cause like cataracts. Your eye doctor can perform diagnostic tests during an exam to confirm the root of the problem and determine if you’re a good candidate for treatment with LASIK or another type of refractive surgery. Irregularities on the cornea surface or aging changes in tissue can both impact chances of success, too, so your doctor will screen for these conditions during your evaluation as well.
If you’re trying to decide if LASIK is the right eye surgery for you, it’s advisable to take a few moments and speak with your eye doctor about what might be causing your vision problems. If you’re diagnosed with any of the conditions that cause blurry vision due to Refractive Errors, then you might be a candidate for LASIK. During your consultation, ask about the different options available for improving your vision and the results you can expect from each one. When you speak with your doctor, mention every symptom that bothers you so they can determine what lines of treatment will be the best fit.