Laser eye surgery is currently the preferred treatment for refractive visual impairments. Most people consider eyeglasses too cumbersome and contact lenses too uncomfortable. On the other hand, the lasting benefits of laser eye surgery seem too tempting to resist. You can read more about laser eye surgery online, or you can talk to your doctor about the prospects of the treatment. The procedure is practically invasive since it'll make incisions on your cornea, so your health is considered along with the expected benefits to determine if you're qualified.
Laser eye surgery is performed on the eye's cornea, the part which refracts light and affects accurate vision. Think of the cornea as a lens which lets you see the world in proper perspective. Unfortunately, some people have misaligned or malformed corneas, thereby affecting the angle of refraction and the quality of vision. If the cornea is too steep, the vision is distorted and causes myopia (or nearsightedness); on the other hand, a flattened cornea is responsible for hyperopia (or farsightedness). Laser eye surgery offers permanent treatment for both conditions, as well as for astigmatism, an impairment which involves an irregularly shaped cornea.
The surgery is pretty straightforward: a laser is used to create a flap in the cornea, one that's thin enough to make room for tissue extraction from underneath. Surgeons previously used a microkeratome for the extraction, an instrument with a disposable blade, but this option is phased out in favor of guided, precision lasers. You can get more info on LASIK here, but your doctor can also recommend options that complement your condition. The flap is actually a cut on the tissue, and it is folded back at the hinge prior to extraction. Enough tissue is removed in the right locations to reshape the cornea and readjust its angle of refraction, resulting in improved visual acuity.
The procedure requires prior consultations and evaluations, and alternative solutions may also be considered if these offer advantages over laser eye surgery. Eyeglasses and contact lenses are recommended for patients with autoimmune problems, or if the visual impairment is minimal and only requires assistive lenses. There's also a newer treatment, one which uses special contact lenses to reshape the contours of the cornea, albeit temporarily. The process is comparable to the temporary crease your watch or bracelet makes on your skin, but the readjustment on the cornea usually lasts a couple of days.
If your doctor clears you for laser eye surgery, then you should keep your expectations on the procedure realistic. Many patients achieve improved vision in a matter of days, while others only develop 20/40 vision or minimal improvement. The benefits can also be immediate or gradual, depending on your evaluation and post-operative recovery. The cost of the procedure is also worth considering. You can find out more about laser eye surgery cost here if you've decided that the treatment is your best option. Besides, visual impairments do qualify as handicaps, and as such, you can expect your health insurance to cover part of the costs of the procedure. Laser eye surgery can improve your quality of life if you're suffering from a visual handicap, and you don't have to resort to eyeglasses and contact lenses to develop better eyesight.