Studies show that approximately 12 million Americans become visually impaired to some degree annually. This raises the question: Aside from wearing glasses or contacts, how can individuals improve their vision? The answer to that question may be LASIK surgery. The following information will explain what LASIK is and how it is used to correct some forms of vision impairment.
What is LASIK?
LASIK is an acronym for laser in situ keratomileusis, which means to alter “the refractive power of the eye to improve vision” using lasers. The word keratomileusis means “carving knife” in Greek. During a LASIK procedure, an ophthalmologist uses a laser or other instruments to lift the outer covering of the cornea in order to improve its shape. It is the reshaping of the cornea that corrects impaired vision.
What are the most common types of vision impairment?
According to representatives of the National Eye Institute (NEI), the most common types of vision problems are nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia. All four conditions are caused by irregularities in the size and shape of the cornea, lens or eye itself.
An individual with myopia or nearsightedness has longer than normal eyes, which impede the way that light hits the retinas. This causes nearsighted people to have trouble seeing things in the distance.
Hyperopia or farsightedness results when a person’s eyes are shorter than normal. Shorter eyes cause light to bypass the front of the cornea, which limits an individual’s ability to focus on objects that are nearby.
Presbyopia, literally “old man eyes” in Greek, is age-related farsightedness. Individuals over the age of 40 typically begin to experience some loss in the elasticity of their eyes’ lenses, which makes focusing on objects in the distance difficult without glasses.
Unlike the other conditions, astigmatism impedes an individual’s ability to see objects clearly regardless of their proximity to them. These people have irregularly curved lenses that cause blurry vision.
Is LASIK surgery better than contact lenses or glasses?
The answer to that question depends on the severity of an individual’s vision problems. In some cases LASIK can eliminates the need for glasses and contacts.
Does LASIK surgery hurt?
Pain is subjective, so everyone’s experience will be unique. Analgesics are administered before LASIK surgery, and over the counter pain relievers can be used after surgery if necessary.
Where can more information about LASIK surgery be found?
Additional information about LASIK, other laser eye surgery and candidacy can be obtained by visiting the The Eye Care Institute (eyecareinstitute.com) or calling 502-589-1500. Ⓡ