What is Refractive Surgery?

By Mark Hillman posted 10-11-2019 14:50


The eye is a delicate organ and can be affected by refractive disorders. A refractive error occurs when the eye’s shape doesn’t bend the light it is exposed to. It results in blurred vision, either close up or at a distance.


Correcting a refractive error requires eyeglasses or contact lenses. In recent years, refractive surgery has also become an option for many people. It allows them to discard their glasses or contact lenses.


What types of refractive orders can you get?


There are three main types of refractive disorders. The first is myopia. If you are myopic, you can see things that are close to you, but objects in the distance are blurry. It is more commonly known as shortsightedness. Hyperopia is the opposite of myopia. Known as farsightedness, people with hyperopia can see better in the distance than they can up close.


After the age of 40, people also become vulnerable to presbyopia. Simply put, it is caused by the aging of the eye lens, which makes it less flexible and able to respond to visual stimuli. Once they’re in their 40s, a lot of people who’ve had no vision problems before find themselves needing reading glasses.


Diagnosis with a refractive error


During a routine eye examination, an eye care professional can find and identify a refractive error. It’s what they’re looking for when they ask you to read the letters from the chart.


During this time, the eye care professional uses a series of lenses to correct the refractive error. They then determine what eyewear is necessary to counteract the refractive error.


Refractive surgeries


By far the best-known refractive surgery is Lasik, which deploys a laser to correct the shape of the cornea. This correction rectifies the refractive error. A successful operation restores the patient’s vision to 20/25 or better.


This kind of outcome is not always achievable if the refractive error is severe. The procedure can improve but not completely eliminate the issue. People who are nearsighted or farsighted can have Lasik surgery.


However, an ophthalmologist in Orlando says that Lasik is by no means the only type of vision corrective surgery you can have. A photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) is similar to Lasik in that the surgeon uses a laser to correct the surface of the cornea.


Only the cornea surface is affected, whereas in Lasik, the cornea surface together with the underlying tissue is affected. PRK is typically used to treat mild to moderate myopia or hyperopia. Severe cases require Lasik surgery.


In a refractive lens exchange (RLE), the surgeon removes the eye’s natural lens. It is replaced with a plastic lens implant. It is very similar to cataract surgery. RLE is done to correct severe cases of nearsightedness or farsightedness.


Deciding on refractive surgery


Your eye care professional may have to refer you to a specialist if you indicate an interest in refractive surgery. The specialist will determine what kind of surgery will best suit your individual needs. They will also be prepared to answer any questions you might have.


Get a detailed explanation of what happens during the surgery so that you know what to expect. Ask about the recovery period and potential aftereffects or complications. You must make an informed decision about your refractive surgery.


Your eyes are precious, and losing vision in one or both of them will have a life-altering repercussion. Because of this, you need to be 100% sure that you want refractive surgery. Seek a second opinion if necessary.


You’ll also need to find out if your insurance will cover the costs. Some of these surgeries are regarded as elective or cosmetic, and your insurance won’t pay for those. 

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