Many people who require glasses to see clearly would prefer an option other than contact lenses which allow for clear vision without wearing glasses. In these cases, a refractive surgery can be used to eliminate or reduce the need for wearing glasses and provide clear vision.
Types of Refractive Conditions
Any condition which requires glasses or contact lenses is considered a refractive condition.
The four most common conditions are nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and aged vision (presbyopia).
Each of these conditions will present with different areas of blurry vision – in the distance, at near, or both.
All of these conditions can be corrected with glasses to allow for clear vision, but they can also have a variety of surgical procedures which will provide clear vision as well.
Types of Refractive Surgeries
An older procedure known as radial keratotomy was previously used frequently but has been replaced by other procedures.
New techniques and procedures including SMiLe surgery and implantable contact lenses are beginning to be used for this purpose but are less common than other options.
LASIK Refractive Surgery
The most commonly performed refractive surgery is LASIK surgery. LASIK, which stands for laser assisted in situ keratomileusis, is a laser-based surgery which changes the shape of the front of the eye.
For LASIK surgery, an evaluation will be done to rule out any contraindications to the procedure including keratoconus, a thin cornea, or an active infection or inflammation.
The LASIK procedure is an outpatient surgery and has a very brief recovery time.
LASIK is commonly used to correct for nearsightedness or astigmatism, but it can be used for small amounts of farsightedness as well.
If a LASIK procedure is done before the age of forty to fifty, there may not be a need for glasses immediately after the surgery and only reading glasses may be needed later on in life.
PRK surgery is similar to LASIK and is performed when there are indications that LASIK would not be a good fit for the patient.
PRK, which stands for photorefractive keratectomy, is a laser assisted surgery which can be used to correct for nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.
Like LASIK, if PRK is performed before the need for reading glasses, there may not be any reason for wearing glasses following the procedure.
While cataract surgery is a medical procedure that is used to improve vision when it is impacted by the presence of cataracts, it can also serve as a refractive procedure and reduce the need for glasses.
During cataract surgery, an artificial lens is placed inside the eye and replaces the natural lens which has become clouded.
This artificial lens can be made to correct a variety of refractive conditions including nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and presbyopia.
This is a great option for older individuals who want to be less reliant on glasses and reading glasses after the surgery.