Vision, Age and Laser Eye Surgery
Our eyes are the windows to our soul, but more importantly they are our window to the world. When your vision begins to blur it can be frightening, and if you’re not aware of common eye problems and treatments, you might resign yourself to partial blindness when 20/20 vision could be within your reach!
The cornea and the lens inside the eye form a focusing system, and are responsible for focusing incoming light rays onto the retina. In an ideally-functioning optical system, the power of the cornea and lens are perfectly matched with the length of the eye. If any of these elements are out-of-sync, this is called refractive error and it results in a blurred image.
Myopia is nearsightedness, meaning distant objects appear blurry while nearer objects appear clearer. Hyperopia means farsightedness, and means the opposite. Nearer objects appear blurry where objects observed from a distance have clarity.
Astigmatism have a corneal or lens shape which is distorted, cuasing multiple images on the retina. Objects at all distances will appear blurry. Many patients experience a combination of hyperopia and astigmatism, but luckily they can now be treated with LASIK. Glasses and contact lenses are used to compensate for refractive error, by bending light rays at angles which correct the eye’s specific refractive error.
Eyes and Age
During youth, the lens has the ability to change shape and power, and this allows us to focus on close objects through lens power change called accommodation. As we get older, the natural lens begins to lose its ability to change shape and power. This is termed presbyopia, which means the loss of accommodation. Many people opt for reading glasses, bifocals or other visual aids to facilitate short-distance vision. LASIK cannot reverse presbyopia, but there are treatment practises which have been successful, including blended vision and monovision, in which one eye is corrected for better distance vision and one for better near vision.
Laser Eye Surgery
Laser in Situ Keratomileusis (or LASIK), is a procedure which uses a laser beneath a corneal flap (in situ) to reshape the cornea (keratomileusis). The treatment utilises a specialised excimer laser to treat refractive errors, improve vision, and reduce or demolish the patient’s need for glasses or contact lenses. The laser treatment alters the shape of the cornea, which is the transparent covering of the eyes.
In a LASIK procedure, a trained eye surgeon creates a precise corneal flap using a microkeratome. The surgeon pulls back this flap to expose the underlying corneal tissue. The excimer laser then reshapes the cornea in a unique specified pattern for each patient. The flap is gently repositioned after the reshaping has taken place.