By David Loewy, MD
Refractive surgery is designed to correct myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism to effectively reduce dependency on eyeglasses and contacts. The most popular refractive procedure is LASIK, which stands for laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis. It involves shaping the cornea using a laser.
Other refractive procedures include photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) and refractive lens exchange (RLE). Those who are not good candidates for LASIK may benefit from either PRK or RLE.
Thin or flat corneas, high degrees of refractive error, irregularly shaped corneas, and certain hereditary corneal diseases are some of the conditions that can make a candidate unsuitable for refractive surgery.
The procedure is often painless and will take less than 30 minutes. During the surgery, the patient may feel some pressure on their eyes. After surgery, the patient’s eyes may feel irritated or itchy, and their eyes may water; however, by not rubbing or touching the eyes and using eye drops as directed by the doctor, these symptoms will usually soon pass.
Refractive surgery is not covered by insurance and must be paid “out of pocket” or financed. One should consider that some of the expense is offset by savings incurred in no longer purchasing contacts, contact solution, glasses, etc.; however, the freedom of not worrying about visual aids is certainly an improvement in lifestyle that is priceless.
Bio: Ophthalmologist David Loewy, MD has been performing LASIK and other refractive procedures for over 15 years. He specializes in laser and cataract surgery. www.eyesfl.com