What is Refractive Surgery?
Refractive surgery is any surgical procedure that attempts to decrease a patient’s refractive error (irregularities in the eye that prevent correct focus). Common refractive errors are myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism. Currently there are several refractive treatments available, including IntraLASIK, PRK, Intacs and Visian ICL. Each procedure improves visual acuity by minimizing or eliminating the patient’s refractive error.
What is Myopia?
Myopia is the medical term for “nearsightedness” and affects approximately 25% of North America’s population. If you are myopic you are able to see objects that are “near” to you more clearly than distance objects. The more myopic you are, the more blurred distant objects appear, the “higher” your prescription, and the thicker your glasses.
What is Hyperopia?
Hyperopia is the medical term for “farsightedness.” This means that you usually have trouble seeing up close, but may also have difficulty seeing far away as well. Individuals with mild to moderate hyperopia are often able to see clearly because their natural lens can adjust to increase the eye’s focusing ability. However, others who have severe hyperopia will require glasses for distance vision as well as reading glasses or bifocals.
What is Astigmatism?
Astigmatism is a common optical problem that affects vision. It occurs when the surface of the cornea has an uneven curvature. If the cornea is more oval shaped, like a football, the light rays will come in at two different angles. This causes blurred or distorted vision, glare and ocular fatigue because light rays are not focused at one spot to provide clear vision. This common condition is called “corneal astigmatism.” Mild degrees of astigmatism are well tolerated and require no therapy, while greater degrees can be treated with a variety of methods.
What is Presbyopia?
Presbyopia is the normal, age-related loss of ability to focus on things up close. It develops as the lens of the eye loses some of the flexibility that characterizes a younger eye. Everyone experiences the effects of presbyopia, typically between the ages of 40 and 50. Nearsighted people who become presbyopic may require bifocals, and those that never needed glasses before may require reading glasses.
Are you a Candidate?
If you are interested in refractive surgery, the first step is to schedule an appointment with Dr. Thomas Litzinger, M.D. During your initial complimentary consultation, he will discuss your current lifestyle, health history, medications, and post-surgery expectations. A thorough eye exam and testing will be completed. Based on the information gathered, Dr. Litzinger will confirm whether you are a candidate for refractive surgery. If so, he will explain, in detail, the procedure that best fits your needs and the expected outcome. Dr. Litzinger will answer any questions you may have to ensure you are able to make an informed decision.
A patient’s satisfaction following refractive treatment is greatly dependent on their expectations. Most patients’ results make everyday tasks possible without the need for eyeglasses or contacts. However, eyeglasses may still be needed for reading fine print or distance activities, such as night driving. It is best to consider refractive surgery as a means to reduce dependency on eyeglasses and contact lenses.
While refractive surgery is completed with very precise lasers, visual outcomes will vary from patient to patient. This occurs for many reasons, such as the degree of refractive error corrected and individual healing tendencies.