Ophthalmic Surgeons have developed surgical alternatives for those patients who desire to be less dependent on glasses and contact lenses. These surgical alternatives are known as refractive surgery.
Refractive surgery encompasses a number of different surgical procedures for the correction of vision disorders. The most common vision disorders are farsightedness, nearsightedness, and astigmatism. Dr. Randal Pham also specializes in cataract surgery and treats patients at the Aesthetic & Refractive Surgery Medical Center in San Jose, California.
Photorefractive Keratectorny (PRK) and Laser Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK) are used in the correction of farsightedness, nearsightedness and astigmatism.
Wavefront technology enables the cornea to be precisely and individually sculpted by the laser to the unique shape of the patient’s eye. A common analogy is replacing mass produced clothes with custom tailored clothes. Custom clothes fit better and allow natural freedom of movement because tailored clothes are designed uniquely for the wearer. Wavefront technology enables the laser eye surgeon to custom fit the lasering of the patient’s cornea to the patient’s specific eye shape potentially improving results with fewer side effects.
How Refractive Surgery Works
If you imagine the eye as a camera, the iris and the pupil work together like the shutter, regulating the amount of light entering the eye. The retina functions as the film and is the surface upon which light must be exactly focused. The retinal image is then transmitted to the brain where the picture the eye received is recognized. The cornea (the very front portion of your eye), combined with the lens, provides the focusing power that controls the clarity and accuracy of the image.
Nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism are the result when the cornea is too steep or too flat, or when the eye itself is too long or short. These refractive errors cause the light rays passing through the cornea and the lens to come into focus before or beyond the retina. The result is blurred vision. Refractive procedures of all types are designed to change the shape of the cornea.
They improve vision by correcting the refractive error, focusing light rays passing through the lens of the eye more directly on the retina and creating a clearer image. There is no upper age limit for patients considering refractive surgery though they must be at least 18 years old.
Patients with moderate or low degrees of myopia are especially suited for refractive surgery. Those with high degrees of myopia can expect a significant reduction in the prescription and thickness of their glasses, and may still need to wear them on a part-time basis. A touch up or enhancement with a second treatment may be advised to obtain the best results.