Refractive surgery involves precisely altering the shape of the front surface of the eye, the cornea, usually using laser. The cornea is responsible for bending light to focus it inside the eye. This process is called refraction and the amount of refraction is directly related to the shape of the cornea. Thus, different corneal shapes have different optical powers. If the corneal power is optimal for the size of the eye, light entering the eye is focussed onto the back of the eye (retina) where an image is formed. If the cornea bends the light too much (too high refractive power), light will be focussed in front of the retina and the eye will be short-sighted (myopic). Conversely, if the refractive power of the cornea is too low, light will be focussed behind the retina and the eye will be long-sighted (hyperopic). If the cornea is slightly elongated in one direction compared to the other (like a football) rather than being perfectly round (like a soccer ball), light of different directions will be focussed in different places inside the eye. This is called astigmatism.
Refractive surgery changes the shape (refractive power) of the cornea so that light is focussed onto the retina, avoiding the need for glasses to see clearly in the distance. The team at Essendon Eye Clinic offers laser cataract surgery where the refractive power of the cornea is changed by using the laser to precisely remove corneal tissue according to whether the eye is myopic, hyperopic or has astigmatism.
Refractive surgery offers an excellent opportunity for those who need to wear glasses full time to no longer require glasses to see clearly in the distance. The surgery is most suited to those who have had a stable glasses prescription for some years. Your eye specialist will discuss with you if there are any risks or limitations and what to expect after the surgery.