What is refractive surgery?Refractive surgery is a method used by doctors to restore a person’s vision 6/6 or in other words, adjust a person’s eyes focusing ability and eliminate his/her dependency on glasses permanently. It is adopted when the patient is suffering from refractive errors namely, hyperopia (farsightedness), myopia (nearsightedness), astigmatism, and presbyopia. There are various surgical processes available in the market for correcting patients’ focusing ability by reshaping the cornea, using a laser to reshape the cornea, placing a lens inside your eye, or clearing the round dome at the front of the eyes. For nearsighted people, refractive surgery will reduce the curvature of a cornea so that the focusing power is lessened. Imaged that are formed in the front of the retina are pushed closer to the retina or on the retina. In farsighted people, refractive surgery works to increase the eye’s focusing power so that the images will form closer to the retina or onto the retina, which earlier used to form beyond the retina. In the cases of astigmatism, the shape of the irregular cornea is reshaped via refractive surgery to make it symmetrical and improve the vision.
Types of refractive surgery
1. LASIK Laser – LASIK and PRK both are a type of refractive eye surgery, however, in LASIK, it creates a thin flap in the cornea. Here, the doctor will first clean your eyes and numb them with eye drops. Then an eyelid holder is placed over your eyes to prevent you from blinking and by placing a suction ring the eyes will stay still. Then the surgeon will use a device named Microkeratome or a laser for cutting a thin flap in the cornea. After this, the cornea is reshaped with the help of a laser and the flap is folded back into its place. The flap will heal automatically and the flap will be sealed permanently.
The time taken by the LASIK surgery is around 30 minutes approximately for both eyes.
2.PRK – In PRK also first of all the doctors clean the eyes of the patient and then numb them with the help of eye drops. Then the doctor works to remove the top layer of the cornea for which he can use various techniques namely laser, alcohol-based liquid or brush. Then the cornea is reshaped using a laser.
PRK takes approximately 15 minutes to restore the vision of a person for both eyes.
3. ICL – An Implantable Collamer Lens or ICL is an artificial lens made from collagen known as Collamer which is implanted in the eyes via surgery. ICl can be used to treat myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism. The surgeon works to place the lens between the coloured iris and the eye’s natural lens without taking out the natural lens. This artificial lens corrects the image to be formed on the retina by refracting the light properly and producing a clear vision.
ICL can be an alternative to LASIK LASER. People who cannot get LASIK LASER done can opt for ICL however it is also not for everyone. One must always consult his doctor.