By Dr. Jean E. Keamy
Laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) is the surgical procedure that uses a laser to reshape the corneas of individuals with refractive errors.
The cornea is targeted because it is the primary focusing structure of the eye. In nearsighted individuals, the corneal is too steeply curved or the eye is too long from front to back for an image to focus clearly on the retina. In farsighted patients, the corneal is too flat or the eye is too short for the image to focus clearly on the retina. Astigmatism refers to an ovoid shape of the cornea that distorts vision.
To correct these problems, LASIK involves making a thin, hinged flap to expose the second layer of the cornea. The latest technology involves using a femtosecond laser to create the flap. Beneath the flap, the excimer laser removes sufficient tissue or reshapes it to correct the refractive error. The flap is then set back into place so patients can recover quickly and enjoy corrected vision.
LASIK does not address the decreasing flexibility of the eye’s lens that affects everyone as they age. LASIK cannot prevent the need for reading glasses in the future. Monovision LASIK can help some patients. It involves making one eye see near and the other distance. Many patients enjoy this option.
Dr. Jean Keamy is a board certified ophthalmologist specializing in LASIK, PRK, refractive surgery, cataract surgery and routine eye exams. She owns Keamy Eye & Laser Centre and can be reached at 508-836-8733. Learn more at www.seemedrkeamy.com. Archives of articles from previous issues can be read on fiftyplusadvocate.com.