What is laser surgery for nearsightedness?
surgery for nearsightedness attempts to correct nearsightedness by using a
laser to change the shape of the cornea. The goal of surgery is to allow
someone who is nearsighted to see clearly without corrective lenses or to be
less dependent on corrective lenses.
It is important to keep in
mind that the most commonly used surgical procedures to correct nearsightedness
cause permanent changes in the eye. They cannot be reversed.
Am I eligible for surgery?
Before you have
surgery, an ophthalmologist will examine you to determine whether you are a
candidate for the surgery. You may not be eligible for surgery if:
- Your vision has not been stable for at least
- You have a disease or abnormality of the cornea, such as
keratoconus, keratitis, corneal edema, or thinning of
- You have irregular
- You have moderate or severe
- You have an uncontrolled
autoimmune or connective tissue
- You are younger than 18.
- You are pregnant or
breast-feeding. Temporary changes in the way your eyes focus occur during
What types of laser surgery are available?
are two main types of laser surgery for nearsightedness:
LASIK (Laser in-situ keratomileusis). Sometimes
called "flap and zap," LASIK makes a small flap in the cornea and removes
tissue underneath the flap or in the area exposed by the flap. Most people feel
mild irritation for a few hours after surgery. But most people can see well and
can return to work the next day.
PRK (Photorefractive keratectomy) and LASEK (laser epithelial keratomileusis). PRK and LASEK use a laser to reshape the cornea.
With PRK, the surface of the cornea is removed and then the cornea is reshaped.
With LASEK, the cornea surface is loosened and pushed out of the way, and then
the cornea is reshaped and the surface replaced. Both surgeries have a longer
recovery time than LASIK, and there is usually some discomfort or mild pain
during the first few days after surgery. PRK, LASEK, and LASIK have very
similar long-term results.
What are the risks of surgery?
Most people who
have laser surgery for nearsightedness are very happy with the results. Be sure
to weigh the possible risks against the likely benefits.
effects and complications may vary slightly depending on which type of surgery
you have. In general, side effects or complications of surgery may
- Clouding of the cornea
- Dry eye symptoms.
- Night vision
- Glare or increased sensitivity to bright
- Double vision.
- Undercorrection or overcorrection.
- Unstable vision (regression).
- Reduction in best
corrected vision, which is the best possible vision you can have using glasses
or contact lenses.
- Not being able to wear contact lenses as a
result of changes in the shape of the cornea.
Serious complications that threaten vision, though rare,
may include infection of the cornea (keratitis), ulcers on the cornea, puncture
of the cornea or eyeball, elevated pressure inside the eye (intraocular
pressure), or retinal detachment.
If you need more information, see the topic