The aim of refractive surgery is to be
able to correct refractive errors by laser or surgical options.
The general term is called "Refractive surgery" or "Vision Correction Surgery".
In order to determine the best option[s] and
whether any person is suited to undergo a procedure at all, the doctor
requires specialised knowledge from both a diagnostic and treatment
point of view and is therefore clearly definable as a sub-speciality
The main refracting surface of the eye is the cornea and tear film [front surface of the eye]. Within the eye, the
lens is the secondary focusing system providing approximately
one third of the total refracting power. From a surgical point
of view, the cornea is accessible for surgical processes to
alter the shape. Altering the shape of the cornea will produce
a different focusing performance eg. by flattening the cornea
we make the eye less myopic and by steepening the cornea we
make it more myopic or less long-sighted.
It is also possible to place inlays into the cornea to aid near vision etc
Other options include surgery to the lens or
adding an extra lens into the eye. Modern micro-incision surgery allows
either an implantation of a secondary lens into the eye or an exchange
of the natural lens of the eye, thus offering the opportunity to change
the focusing power of the eye.
These options generally offer predictable, safe and rapid vision correction and recovery.
On the cornea (changing the shape of the cornea):
On the lens:
- By sculpting the surface of the cornea into a new shape
by removing tissue with an Excimer laser (LASIK)
- By inserting an inlay within the cornea (Sutureless Synthetic
- By making an exact pattern of incisions on the cornea
(RK or AK) [Less used]
A combination of these procedures is sometimes required.
- Cataract removal and lens replacement surgery
- Clear lens removal and lens replacement
- A supplementary intraocular lens either in the anterior
chamber for high myopia or internal contact lens for myopia