Dr. Laura Montgomery

For individuals thinking about reducing their dependence on glasses or contact lens correction, refractive surgery may be an option. The most common options in refractive surgery available today include LASIK and photorefractive keratectomy (PRK).

LASIK is a surgical procedure that uses a laser to reduce myopia (near-sighted- ness), hyperopia(far sightedness), and astigmatism. A flap is created in the cornea and is folded back to expose the inner layer of the cornea. The flap can be created with a bladed instrument called a microkeratome or using a laser called Intralase. Once the flap is opened the cornea is reshaped with a laser to correct the prescription and then the flap is replaced.

In PRK, the front layer of the cornea (epithelium) is removed to expose the inner layers and then the laser correc- tion is applied. The epithelium then grows back on its own. Both surgeries are considered painless, however you will experience some discomfort after the surgery as the eye heals.

Not everyone is a candidate for refrac- tive surgery. Individuals considering the surgery must be at least 18 years old, have a stable prescription and healthy eyes. Various conditions may affect a person’s candidacy: severely dry eyes, corneal disease/scarring, uncontrolled diabetes, certain medications, degen- erative corneal diseases, autoimmune disorders and many others. Anyone considering refractive surgery should have a complete eye exam to determine if they are a good candidate.

One important question to ask is where should I have my refractive surgery done? Every centre varies in its technol- ogy, surgeons, procedures, costs and what is included. Your optometrist can help you make the best decision for you.

Refractive surgery can have a tremen- dous impact on your quality of life. Vision affects most daily activities such as seeing the clock when you wake up, sporting activities, and career require- ments. Imagine freedom from glasses…