Laser Vision Correction Surgery

What is laser vision correction surgery?

Clear vision depends on how well the cornea and lens permit light rays to fall onto the retina. Light rays must be refracted (bent) to focus on the retina. The retina is the light-sensitive nerve layer that lines the back of the eye, which creates impulses from the light rays that are sent through the optic nerve to the brain.

If the cornea or eye shape is abnormal, vision can become blurry because light does not fall properly on the retina. Called a refractive error, an abnormal cornea shape can often be corrected by refractive eye surgery, which, in turn, corrects the vision problem. Refractive errors can include myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), astigmatism (an irregularly shaped cornea which causes blurring), and presbyopia (similar to hyperopia, a condition which causes the lens to harden).

The goal of most refractive eye surgeries is to reduce or eliminate a person's dependency on eyeglasses or contact lenses. Refractive eye surgery is not for everyone. One type of surgery may be more suitable for one person than another. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis and to discuss which type of surgery, if any, may be appropriate for you.

There are several types of corrective surgical procedures for refractive errors, including, but not limited to:

How to prepare for laser vision correction surgery:

Most refractive eye surgeries are performed on an outpatient basis, with most procedures lasting less than one hour in duration. In preparation for surgery, you may be asked to:

  • arrange for someone to drop you off and pick you up again after surgery.
  • not wear your contact lenses for a period of time before surgery, to prevent corneal warpage.
  • not wear eye make-up for a couple of days before surgery.

What to expect during surgery:

Although each procedure varies slightly, in general, refractive eye surgery involves minimal discomfort. The eye is usually numbed with eye drops prior to surgery. While in surgery, you may also:

  • stay awake during the procedure.
  • your eye may be kept open with an eye speculum (a spring-like device between the eyelids).

Specific events that occur during surgery vary depending on the type of surgery performed.

Recovering from surgery:

Recovery times vary depending on the surgery, but can last anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of months. The following are some common symptoms following surgery. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms following surgery may include:

  • sensitivity to light
  • blurry vision
  • minor discomfort
  • dry eyes

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