How Does LASIK Correct Refractive Errors?

Posted by: Missouri Eye Institute in Blog on February 2, 2023

LASIK is a fantastic procedure that has allowed many people to experience greater visual freedom. It combines high-end laser technology with streamlined technique. 

It is also performed by eye doctors with years of training and experience. The result is a procedure that is fast, effective, and has a minimal recovery time. 

Keep reading to learn more about LASIK and how it can correct refractive errors!

What Happens During LASIK?

LASIK works by slightly changing the curvature of your cornea. When light passes through the eye, it is focused. 

If the cornea is not shaped correctly or the eye is too short or too long, the light does not focus correctly on the retina. For example, if the cornea is too steep, the light comes into focus in front of the retina. 

For a cornea that is too flat, the light comes into focus behind the retina. If the cornea is shaped unevenly, the light is not focused into a single point, resulting in astigmatism. 

During LASIK, your LASIK surgeon uses lasers to alter your corneal tissue. This process makes all the difference in your vision, allowing the light to land directly on your retina. 

Once the cornea is altered, light can pass through it normally.  

What Kind of Equipment Does the Eye Doctor Use?

LASIK famously uses laser technology to make the procedure fast and effective. There are actually two different kinds of lasers used during the procedure. 

The femtosecond laser and the excimer laser perform very different jobs, but are both important. The cornea is made up of distinct layers. 

The middle layer has most of the tissue, making it the safest layer to alter tissue. The femtosecond laser is used at the beginning of LASIK to create a flap in the top layers of the cornea. 

Once the flap is placed aside, the excimer laser is used to carefully alter the middle layer of the corneal tissue. The lasers are guided by a computer to remove human error from being a factor. 

Once the excimer laser has finished with the reshaping, the flap can be repositioned for healing. Since the incision is so precise, the flap quickly reattaches. 

This cuts down on recovery time tremendously. There are no stitches involved, and your eye does not have to completely regrow a patch of corneal tissue.       

Can Anyone Get LASIK?

LASIK is an incredible surgery, but it’s not for everyone. If your prescription is too strong, LASIK could be too dangerous for you. 

The amount of tissue needed to correct your vision might be too large. Weakening the structure of the cornea could open you up to other vision problems.

Similarly, you might have an acceptable prescription size, but have naturally thin corneas. If your corneas don’t have enough tissue to work with, LASIK isn’t for you. 

You may benefit from an alternative surgery, though. PRK is a common substitute for LASIK that can produce excellent results and is often a great option for people with thin corneas.

It is very similar, except instead of creating a flap during surgery, the top layer of tissue is completely removed. Recovery just takes a little longer as the cornea heals completely over.

Are you interested in gaining greater visual freedom? Schedule a LASIK consultation at Missouri Eye Institute in Springfield, MO, today!


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