Laser Vision Correction: Learn About Your Options

Laser vision correction surgery has made tremendous advances in recent decades, allowing patients with a wide variety of vision issues to get improved eyesight. The main aim of the treatment is to correct the "refractive error" in your cornea, giving you sharper focus on objects around you and thus eliminating the need for eyeglasses or contact lenses.

Refractive error refers to an imbalance between the light-focusing power of the eye and the length of the eye. Here is a look at who could be suited to laser vision correction surgery and the various types of refractive errors it can be used to correct.

Who is suited to the treatment?

Laser vision correction is often both elective and cosmetic. The treatment requires that a patient meet certain criteria for corrective action to be successful. First, you are required to have a stable refraction for about a year, which basically means that the prescription on your glasses has remained unchanged for a relatively long period.

You should also have no history of ocular diseases such as cataract, cornea scarring or kerartitis. A very high refractive prescription could also prevent you from being a candidate for vision correction surgery.

Refractive errors that can be corrected

There are a variety of eye conditions that can be successfully corrected with laser vision correction.

Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, refers to a condition where near objects appear clear but distant objects are blurry. This is caused by the cornea being too steep relative to the length of the eye, causing light from distant objects to be focused in front of the retina rather than on it.

Laser vision correction can be used to move the focal point on distant objects backward by selectively removing tissue on the cornea so as to flatten its curvature.

Hyperopia is the opposite of myopia, leading to difficulty of the eye to focus on near objects. This condition is caused by the cornea being too flat for its focusing ability. Corrective surgery can be performed to increase the optical power of the cornea so as to allow light from near objects to land on the retina surface rather than beyond it.

The treatment entails the removal of tissue from around the center of the cornea so as to steepen it and improve its ability to focus.

Astigmatism is another common condition that can be treated using refractive surgery for vision correction. This condition is caused by unevenness on the surface of the cornea/lens, which gives the eye multiple focal points, resulting in blurred vision. Laser vision correction seeks to rectify the unevenness in the cornea via selective tissue removal, resulting in sharper vision.