Refractive Surgery

Surgeon performing refractive surgery

Refractive surgery is any form of eye surgery that is employed to improve the eyes’ refractive state. It is also utilized in order to lower or remove any dependency on contact lenses or glasses. Refractive surgery may include means of actual remodeling of the cornea, or even outright cataract surgery. Today, the most popular methods of refractive surgery use excimer laser surgery in order to correct any curvature of the cornea. Astigmatism, myopia, and hyperopia are all conditions that can be cured by refractive surgery that is performed successfully.

Patients who want to have a refractive surgery procedure done on them must be at least 18. Another prerequisite is that they must have had stable vision for one, entire year before the procedure. Having healthy eyes—defined as freedom from corneal scars, retinal detachment, or other diseases—is another requirement. If the patient is also willing to shoulder the costs for this type of surgery, since refractive surgery is seen as elective and therefore is not covered by most health insurance organizations, then he is a good candidate for the surgery.

There are four types of refractive surgery that are possible today: LASIK, PRK, Radial Keratotomy, and Excimer LASIK. Excimer LASIK surgery involves the use of a laser targeted at the exposed cornea of the eye, which is exposed after the corneal flap is moved out of the way. After the laser is used, the flap is replaced. This procedure is performed as an outpatient procedure and requires the numbing of the eyes before surgery. A plastic drape is utilized to maintain the sterility of the eye, and a lid speculum is employed, too, so the eye does not close involuntarily during surgery.

PRK surgery is also performed as an outpatient procedure. A patient’s eyes are numbed, and the patient then lies flat on a surgical chair, which is rotated under a laser. During this procedure, one eye has a patch on it to prevent the patient from seeing double, while the other eye is being worked on by the laser. The computer that operates the laser calculates the proper amount of laser pulses to appropriately sculpt the cornea of the patient. First though, pre-treatment is performed on the eye, where 90 percent of the first layer of cornea is taken away by the laser.

Refractive surgery is helpful when it comes to opening up careers for people. Jobs like those of pilots or policemen require visual accuracy without any visual aids, something which refractive surgery can help achieve. Other benefits include psychological and cosmetic ones, as some people feel more attractive and imbued with more confidence after losing their glasses. Before people undergo refractive surgery, they should ask themselves important questions relating to side effects and the quality of life thereafter. These should be questions like whether they can easily adapt to change or easily get distressed if things do not go their way or as expected. Since all surgeries entail some form of risk, including refractive surgery, it is not recommended that people who don’t adjust well to potentially unfavorable outcomes go through with this procedure.

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