The purpose of laser eye surgery is to correct refractive errors that result in nearsightedness, farsightedness and distorted vision. These eye problems are caused by errors in the shape and length of the eye’s cornea or lens.
In nearsightedness, or myopia, the eye is too long and the cornea too curved. When light enters the eye in this case, it focuses in front of the retina rather than on the retina, leaving distant objects blurry. The opposite is true for farsightedness, or hyperopia, where a shorter eye and shallow cornea results in blurry close-up vision. Distorted vision, or astigmatism, is caused by uneven curvature in the lens or cornea.
Laser eye surgery aims to reduce dependency on glasses or contact lenses by correcting these refractive errors. While there are many types of laser eye surgery, the most common type is LASIK.
LASIK eye surgery is used to treat myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism and can only be performed on patients who are over the age of 18. LASIK eye surgery is also a quick and safe procedure.
Individuals who suffer from myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism could require laser eye surgery to improve their vision and eliminate the need for glasses or contact lenses.
In order to determine whether laser eye surgery is possible, several tests will have to be done to first determine the severity of refractive errors in the eye. These include a general eye examination, corneal topography, pressure check and measurement of the corneal thickness. The refractive error present in the eye must be in the range of treatment that the laser is capable of correcting, and no other eye disease can be present, in order for laser eye surgery to go ahead.
To perform laser eye surgery, eye specialists at Somerset Eye will use a laser to reshape the cornea and clear the outer layer of the eye in order to change the eye’s focusing power and improve vision. This process, which is almost painless, takes about 10 minutes per eye in total and is done under local anaesthetic.
During the procedure, the corneal tissue is carefully flapped open with a special oscillating blade. The cornea is then lasered, and the protecting tissue gets flapped back into place. Corneal tissue has excellent natural bonding qualities that allow effective healing without the use of stitches.
After the laser eye surgery, the eyes are covered with a transparent plastic shield overnight and antibiotic drops are used for a week. Eyes usually heal extremely fast, with most people achieving normal or near-normal natural vision within the first week. Vision will be slightly blurred for the first few days after the operation, but usually, patients are able to perform their daily activities the day after the operation.
Sometimes, if regressions in eyesight occur after laser eye surgery, enhancements can be done within three to six months after the original procedure.