Does everything seem a little blurry to you?
Do you feel tired or get a headache from reading? Maybe the words are looking a little lopsided? Do you have a hard time focusing on objects close by—or far away?
If any of this resonates with you, you may be suffering from astigmatism, myopia, or hyperopia. At least 33% of all adults have developed astigmatism, as well as one or more other refractive conditions. Luckily, there’s a way to correct all of the above.
You’ve probably heard of LASIK for astigmatism or at least myopia. Over the past two decades, it’s become a very popular procedure to correct refractive issues. If you’re looking for information on LASIK eye surgery, then you’ve come to the right place.
Keep reading to learn more about the LASIK procedure.
LASIK Eye Surgery 101
The term “LASIK” is actually an acronym for “Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis”. It’s a type of refractive surgery that is most commonly used to correct refractive errors. The main errors are well known as astigmatism, myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and presbyopia.
A “refractive error” is when your eye (or eyes) don’t “bend” light accurately. If you have a refractive error, your eyes cannot focus on light appropriately. This causes the images you see to blur. It is possible to have more than one of these errors at the same time.
The way your eyes are able to refract or focus light depends on three key features:
- The overall length of your eye
- The curvature of your cornea
- The curvature of the lens within your eye
Issues with these features determine the type of refractive error you may have. It’s also possible to have more than one type of refractive error occurring at the same time. These conditions are typically corrected with prescription eyeglasses and/or contact lenses. However, they may still worsen over time.
Simply put, the symptoms of astigmatism mainly fall in the category of blurry vision. If you have astigmatism, you may have difficulty reading or seeing signs both near and far. You may also experience frequent headaches as well as have a hard time seeing at night—especially after it rains.
Many people with mild astigmatism describe it as seeing a “halo” around bright lights.
Astigmatism happens in relation to the curvature of your cornea. If your corneas are not a perfect sphere, then the images you see will be refracted irregularly. The origins of the condition are unknown. However, it is known that the condition is hereditary and will show up during early childhood.
Astigmatism can also be triggered by a trauma to the eye (i.e., getting poked in one or both eyes, getting punched in the eye, or an accident that affects the eye). There is also a very rare condition called Keratoconus, which causes your corneas to develop a cone shape, inflicting a more severe form of astigmatism.
Fortunately, most forms of astigmatism are easily corrected with LASIK eye surgery.
Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, is the condition in which people can see objects closeby clearly but objects further away are blurred. This condition typically develops in early childhood and can progress rapidly. Squinting, headaches, eye strain, and fatigue are the most common symptoms of myopia.
Myopia occurs in relation to the overall length of your eyes and the curvature of the lens within your eyes. If your eyes grow too long from front to back, it causes the light to come into focus before it reaches the retinas.
It will also occur f your lenses are curved too steeply in relation to the length of your eyes or curvature of your corneas. Another contributing factor is having lenses within your eyes that are too thick.
Much like astigmatism, myopia is also a hereditary condition. However, it is also attributed to close-up work involving intensive reading and the extensive use of computers and portable electronics. Less time spent outdoors is also a contributing factor to the condition.
While it is possible to correct the condition with eyeglasses or contact lenses, LASIK for myopia is the only permanent solution.
Also referred to as hypermetropia or farsightedness, hyperopia is the opposite of myopia. With hyperopia, people are able to see distant objects clearly but objects within a close range are usually blurry.
Symptoms of hyperopia include headaches, eye strain, fatigue, and squinting. These symptoms typically occur when performing close-up work.
The eyeballs of people who are farsighted are shorter than what is normal. When the eyeball is too short, the light focuses behind the retina. It is also a result of having lenses which are too flat.
Hyperopia is also a condition that is hereditary. However, children born with farsightedness tend to outgrow it. For those who don’t, there are prescription eyeglasses and contact lenses, and of course corrective eye surgery.
Presbyopia is actually a normal part of aging. Your eyes begin to lose focus as you get older, and you essentially become farsighted. Unlike hyperopia, with presbyopia has to do with a hardening lense.
The clear lens that sits behind your iris changes its shape to enable you to focus light properly. When you are young, this lens is soft and flexible. This lense loses its flexibility over time, especially over the age of 40.
This condition can also be taken care of with prescription eyeglasses, contact lenses, and LASIK.
The LASIK procedure
LASIK eye surgery is relatively quick. During the procedure, your surgeon will reshape your corneas to enable the light that comes in to properly focus onto your retinas for clearer vision.
The procedure involves creating a very thin superficial flap that can be folded back to access the cornea. This is usually done with a femtosecond laser. Once the surgeon can access the cornea, he or she will begin to reshape with an excimer laser. (This process is called “ablating”).
The ablation process involves removing the epithelium (the tissue forming the outermost layer of the cornea) by laser. Once this microscopic tissue is ablated, the surgeon can then treat the refractive error on the surface of the cornea. This method is gentle on the corneal nerves, leaving less pain post-surgery.
The surgeon will then lay the superficial flap back in place to seal the cornea for healing post-surgery. You will most likely be advised to rest the next day and refrain from rubbing or touching your eyes. It is also typically recommended to avoid intense exercise as to not cause any accidental damage while your eyes heal.
You can expect improved clarity the next day, and your eyesight should continue to improve and stabilize within a week. (In some cases, it may take several weeks).
Are You a Good Candidate For LASIK?
The criteria you need to meet in order to get LASIK for your astigmatism or other refractive error will be determined by both the health of your eyes and your doctor.
When you’re ready to see better and enjoy a clearer life, get in touch with us. We offer free consultations and payment plans so you don’t have to spend more time squinting then you should.