Millions of Americans suffer from nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. Some studies show that Americans are becoming more and more nearsighted. Glasses and contacts are a great way to help temporarily correct these problems. However, there is a more permanent solution. LASIK refractive surgery is an option for patients who want to experience better vision all the time. LASIK is the most popular vision surgery performed in the United States and focuses on fixing the conditions we listed above as well as presbyopia. Refractive errors are very common in millions of people, but that doesn’t mean you have to live with those problems. If you want to reduce your dependence on glasses or contact lenses, consider learning about LASIK vision surgery and how it can help provide you amazing eyesight for the rest of your life!
When you look at an object, you are looking at the light it gives off. That light passes through various parts of your eye such as the cornea (outer clear layer), your pupil, the lens of your eye, etc. It does this until it hits the retina, a tissue located at the back of your eye that interprets the light it sees and sends information to your brain. Your brain then interprets the light you are seeing as an object. Sometimes, that process doesn’t work correctly, which results in a refractive error such as nearsightedness. Nearsightedness also goes by the name of “myopia”, and is a refractive area where objects up close appear clearly. However, objects farther away appear blurry.
This is due to the length of your eyeball and the curvature of your cornea. The cornea of your eye is the clear front cover of the eye. If the eyeball is too long, or your cornea is too curved, then objects farther away will appear blurry. The most common refractive error of the eye is nearsightedness. It affects around 30% of Americans, and that percentage is on the rise. More than 34 million Americans have myopia. Each year, more people seem to have nearsightedness, and more develop severe nearsightedness. However, you can have a clear vision with the right pair of glasses or contact lenses.
Farsightedness is the exact opposite of nearsightedness, and it goes by the name of “hyperopia”. People who have farsightedness will see objects clearly that are far away and objects up close will appear blurry. About 1/4th of the people in the United States have farsightedness, making it a common condition, but less common than nearsightedness. That percentage amounts to about 14.2 million Americans. This condition can also easily be managed with the right glasses or contact lens prescription.
The third most common refractive error is astigmatism, affecting about 1 in 3 people. Astigmatism is the optical term for “more than one point of focus”. It occurs when the surface of the cornea or crystalline lens is not spherical. Light from an object does not focus exactly on the retina, but at two separate points. Typically, an astigmatic eye has curves that are steeper in one direction than the other. Sometimes, the eyeball is shaped by a rugby ball instead of being spherical. In many cases, astigmatism occurs in conjunction with either nearsightedness or farsightedness.
Millions of people wear contact lenses and glasses to help make their vision clearer. This is what most of our young patients choose as well as those over the age of 60. However, if you want a more permanent solution for clearer vision, you should consider LASIK vision surgery. This is the most popular type of vision surgery and is one that has been around for over a decade. LASIK vision surgery is most widely performed for refractive errors. During this vision surgery, a laser is used to reshape your cornea and to correct how your eye focuses light.
This vision surgery encompasses several eye surgeries used to correct refractive errors. As we mentioned, refractive errors are ones such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. On average, about 800,000 LASIK procedures are done in the United States each year.
LASIK will be slightly different depending on the refractive error that you have. Nearsightedness responds very well to LASIK surgery. This service reduces the steep curvature of the cornea, so the eye’s focusing power is reduced. Images that focus in front of the retina (due to a longer eye or steeper cornea curve) are pushed closer to the retina with surgery. With farsightedness, surgery helps establish a steeper cornea so that images focus closer to or directly onto the retina.
Astigmatism can’t always be corrected with vision surgery, but there are many patients who have had a clearer vision through LASIK. Vision surgery can reshape parts of an abnormal cornea to smooth it and make it symmetrical. This way, images can focus clearly on the retina instead of being distorted from light scattering through an abnormally-shaped cornea.
Vision surgery corrects those refractive errors and restores normal vision to your eyes. It can help make you more independent (or completely independent) from having to use glasses or contact lenses. Not all people are candidates for vision surgery such as LASIK. To see if you are a candidate, or to learn more, call Optical Masters today at (720) 780-8881