LASIK stands for laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, which means using a laser to reshape the cornea of the eye. This outpatient surgery can enhance your range of vision to reduce the need for corrective lenses. Depending on your eye condition, LASIK may be a viable option for improving your vision problems.
How Does Cornea Shape Affect Vision?
The cornea is a clear window at the front of the eye that lets light in. Light enters the eye through the cornea and converges to a single focal point on the retina at the back of the eye. The cornea refracts, or bends, light so that it hits the correct spot on the retina. In many people, light does not focus on the retina, resulting in blurred vision or the inability to focus on objects far away or at close range.
What Can LASIK Correct?
LASIK surgery can correct vision problems that result from light hitting the retina incorrectly. LASIK treats three types of vision problems: astigmatism, near-sightedness, and far-sightedness. These conditions are known as refractive errors because the cornea incorrectly refracts light after it enters the eye. With astigmatism, light focuses on multiple points. With near-sightedness, light focuses in front of the retina. With far-sightedness, the focal point occurs behind the retina.
How Does LASIK Work?
LASIK can improve vision by using lasers to correct the shape of the cornea. The surgery fixes the shape of the window that lets light into the eye, so that light bends correctly and focuses on the proper area of the retina. Each kind of refractive error has its own type of corrective reshaping to attain the desired result.
- Astigmatism: makes light focus at one point on the retina
- Myopia (near-sightedness): moves the focal point back to the retina
- Hyperopia (far-sightedness): moves the focal point forward to the retina
Who Should Have LASIK Surgery?
Most healthy adults who have one of the three types of refractive errors may be a candidate for LASIK Surgery. Ideally, patients should be aged 21 or older and their prescription has not changed very much in the last year. Other requirements include good eye health and thick corneas.
Who is Not a Candidate for LASIK Surgery?
Some people cannot have laser vision correction due to certain pre-existing conditions. Women who are pregnant or currently breastfeeding should not have the surgery because of the vision changes that occur during that period. Other conditions that are not compatible with the LASIK procedure include:
- Corneal scars
- Thin corneas
- Vision-impairing cataracts
- Extremely dry eyes
- Severe or changing refractive errors
- Diabetes that is not under control
Reach out to a LASIK eye surgery provider to learn more.