The term LASIK is an abbreviation for Laser In Situ Keratomileusis. LASIK is a surgical procedure whereby a laser is used under a corneal flap (in situ) to reshape the cornea. During LASIK, the physician uses a precisely configured laser (the excimer laser) designed to treat refractive eye problems, and improve vision. LASIK has been utilized by physicians throughout the United States for more than twenty years and is now widely accepted for correcting refractive errors.
How does LASIK work?
During the first stage of the LASIK procedure, a LASIK eye surgeon first creates a precise, thin, hinged corneal flap. The eye surgeon then lifts back this corneal flap to expose the underlying corneal tissue, and then using a laser, he or she ablates (reshapes) the cornea utilizing a unique pattern for each patient. The physician then gently repositions the flap onto the underlying cornea. The LASIK procedure does not require stitches.
What is refractive error?
The front surface of the eye is called the cornea. The cornea and the lens inside the eye together enable the human eye to focus incoming light rays onto the surface of the retina to give sharp images. By way of analogy, this process is similar to how a camera focuses light onto the film inside. Sometimes, there is a mismatch between the power of the cornea and the length of the eye, this is known as refractive error. In the human eye, refractive error results in a blurred image.
What are the primary types of refractive error?
We have all heard the terms nearsightedness and farsightedness, but you may not have thought of those conditions as refractive errors.
Nearsightedness, the technical term for which is Myopia, occurs when the refractive error in the human eye causes distant objects to be blurry, while objects closer to the eye are clearer.
Farsightedness, the technical term for which is Hyperopia, produces the opposite result, namely, near objects are blurry, while distant objects are clearer.
Your ophthalmologist may also have mentioned the term Astigmatism in describing your refractive error. Astigmatism is a distortion in the shape of the cornea or lens, which results in objects being blurred at all distances, and astigmatism often occurs in conjunction with nearsightedness or farsightedness.
LASIK and other forms of refractive surgery are intended to correct the eye’s refractive error to reduce the need for glasses or contact lenses.
By correcting refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism, LASIK minimizes the need for glasses or contact lenses.