April 20, 2024

Laser Vision Correction: An Effective Solution for Nearsightedness, Farsightedness and Astigmatism

What is Laser Vision Correction?
Laser vision correction is a refractive surgery technique that uses lasers to permanently reshape the cornea, the clear dome-shaped surface at the front of the eye, to improve vision. It can reduce a person’s dependence on glasses or contact lenses.

Types of Laser Vision Correction Surgeries

Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK)
LASIK is the most commonly performed laser vision correction procedure. In LASIK, the surgeon uses a laser to reshape the cornea by correcting the way it refracts light. It involves using a laser to create a hinged flap in the cornea. Then another laser reshapes the underlying corneal tissue to change its refractive power. The flap is finally repositioned at the end of the surgery.

Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK)
Similar to LASIK, PRK reshapes the corneal tissue using an excimer laser. However, in PRK, there is no corneal flap created. Instead, the surface layers of the cornea are removed first before laser treatment. This makes PRK longer to heal compared to LASIK. PRK is an option for people who are not eligible for LASIK.

Laser Epithelial Keratomileusis (LASEK)
LASEK is a variation of PRK where only the corneal epithelium or outer layer is loosened and folded back before laser treatment. This causes less pain compared to regular PRK since it preserves more of the protective corneal nerves. LASEK provides good vision outcomes.

Who Can Benefit From Laser Vision Correction?

Nearsightedness (Myopia)
Laser vision correction is very effective for treating nearsightedness when the person’s prescription has been stable for at least one year. Nearsightedness occurs when the eyeball is slightly elongated, causing light to focus in front of the retina instead of directly on it. This makes faraway objects appear blurry. Laser treatment flattens the cornea to redirect light properly onto the retina.

Farsightedness (Hyperopia)
Laser correction can help reduce farsightedness where the eye focuses light behind the retina, making close objects blurry. During laser treatment, the central cornea gains more refractive power to enhance near vision. However, farsightedness is not fully correctable in some cases due to the length of the eyeball.

Astigmatism
With astigmatism, the cornea is not smoothly curved, resulting in blurred vision. Modern excimer lasers can accurately treat both nearsightedness and astigmatism in one procedure. This provides clear vision at all distances without glasses or contacts.

Are You a Suitable Candidate?
To be considered for laser vision correction, the patient should:

– Be at least 18 years of age
– Have a stable refraction for at least 1 year
– Not have very high prescriptions (over -8.00 or +5.00)
– Not be pregnant or breastfeeding
– Have healthy eyes and corneas of sufficient thickness
– Be free of eye diseases like cataracts, glaucoma or retinal problems

Candidates are carefully screened through eye exams, measurements, and discussions to ensure safety and optimal outcomes. Screening helps rule out people with unrealistic expectations, medical conditions affecting healing, or medications that could slow wound healing after surgery.

Laser Vision Correction Results and Risks

With advances in laser technologies, most people who undergo laser refractive surgery experience better uncorrected vision within a few days and achieve their best vision within 3 to 6 months. Improvement in uncorrected vision ranges from being able to see 20/20 to 20/40 depending on the individual’s pre-surgical condition.

Some people may still need Reading glasses for very fine close work after the one-year mark as presbyopia sets in naturally with age over 40.

While laser vision correction is very safe, effective, and has very high patient satisfaction, no surgery is risk-free. For example:

– Dry eye symptoms may occur temporarily or persist long-term in some patients. Careful screening and use of protective eye drops can minimize this.

– Infection, which is rare, can potentially lead to permanent vision loss without prompt treatment. That’s why strict pre- and post-op care protocols are followed.

– Some people experience visual symptoms like glare, halos or double vision at night due to steroid use after PRK. This usually improves over time.

– Inaccurate corrections may happen and require enhancement procedures. Top-quality equipment and experienced surgeons minimize risks.

To Sum It Up

In summary, advanced laser vision correction has radically improved lifestyles by liberating millions worldwide from dependence on glasses or contact lenses. When performed by a qualified eye surgeon, laser refractive surgery offers clear improved vision for distance, driving and computer use with a high degree of accuracy, safety and patient satisfaction. With appropriate screening and management of expectations, most individuals are suitable candidates.

*Note:

  1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
  2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it