Correcting Vision With Refractive Eye Surgery

Animation Movie AvailableRelated Media: LASIKIMAGE Vision problems are common. It used to be that glasses or contact lenses were the only option. Today, eye surgery has the potential to correct vision without these visual aids.

How the Eye Works

When you look at an object, the light the object reflects is bent or refracted through the cornea—the clear layer that forms the front window of the eye—and then through the lens, to land on the retina. The nerve endings in the retina send signals through the optic nerve to the brain, where the image is recognized. The most common eye problems result from refractive errors caused by poorly focused light waves. This can be due to a misshaped eyeball, cornea, or lens. The four basic types of errors are:
  • Myopia or nearsightedness—Close objects can be seen clearly, but those distant are blurred.
  • Hyperopia or farsightedness—Distant objects may or may not be seen clearly, and those those that are close are blurred at an earlier age than with other refractive problems.
  • Astigmatism —Both close and distant objects are blurred
  • Presbyopia —The lens, which normally changes shape to focus on objects at varying distances, loses its flexibility; a common process with aging.
Making light rays focus on the retina properly will reduce refractive error. Traditionally, glasses and contact lenses correct the error and enhance vision. Today, more and more people are opting for refractive surgery. By changing the shape of the cornea, which is responsible for most of the eye's focusing power, refractive surgery can decrease or eliminate dependency on glasses or contact lenses. It cannot, however, improve vision beyond what glasses or contacts were able to accomplish. Below are the most common types of refractive surgery.

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