Everything you need to know about refractive surgery

Refractive surgery is a set of surgical techniques aimed at correcting a graduation defect suffered by the patient, the so-called refractive defects, which can be myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism and/or a combination of them.

Ocular problems treated by refractive surgery

The eye problems treated by this surgery are:

  • Myopia: is a refractive defect of the eye in which light rays converge on a focal point in front of the retina, instead of on the retina itself. Corrective lenses are needed to see well.
  • Hyperopia: is a refractive defect of the eye in which light rays coming from infinity converge on a focal point behind the retina. In order to see well, corrective lenses are needed.
  • Astigmatism: is a refractive defect of the eye characterized by a different refraction between two ocular meridians, which prevents clear focusing of objects. In the human eye, astigmatism is common to a lesser or greater degree and is often associated with other refractive errors such as nearsightedness or farsightedness. It can be corrected by the use of cylindrical lenses.

Indications for refractive surgery

In principle, it is recommended for all patients, although it should be taken into account that not everyone can undergo this surgery, so it is necessary to undergo a thorough examination to assess the patient and the most appropriate technique or techniques. Depending on the refractive defect, the condition of the eye and the patient’s age, the ophthalmologist will recommend one technique or another. The main requirement is to be over 21 years of age and that the refractive defect is stable.

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Types of refractive surgery

There are multiple surgical techniques for the correction of refractive defects. They can be classified into two groups:

  • Techniques that act on the cornea: they allow the correction of mild or moderate graduation defects. Among these techniques are LASIK and PRK. There are other less known techniques, such as incisional surgery.
  • Intraocular techniques: they are used in cases of higher graduation. It consists of the introduction of an intraocular lens, either replacing the crystalline lens or not. The use of one technique or another depends on many factors that the ophthalmologist studies previously.

Results of refractive surgery

The results are magnificent, the rate of complications is very low, but it is not free of them. It is important to know that, although these techniques are very safe, there is no 100% success rate. In the previous study, the most appropriate technique or techniques are evaluated and the patient is informed. The objective of these techniques is to reduce the dependence on corrective lenses, since in some cases it is not possible to do without them.

The results are definitive in almost all cases, but not in 100%, since, in some cases, the refractive defect is progressive and it is impossible to know this with absolute certainty in the previous examination.