If you have difficulty seeing objects at a distance but anything close-up is perfectly clear, you likely have myopia, also known as nearsightedness. With over 3 million cases diagnosed each year, myopia is a common condition. Myopia occurs when either the eyeball is longer than a normal eye or when the cornea, the outer layer of the eye, is too curved. In either case, the eye has too much refractive power so light that enters is brought into focus before it reaches the retina causing faraway objects to be blurred. Myopia is considered a refractive error. Prescription glasses or contact lenses can aid in providing clear vision but often patients choose LASIK as a laser operation for myopia.
Other forms of myopia include high myopia and degenerative myopia. High myopia occurs when the eyeball grows more than it is supposed to and becomes very long from front to back. With high myopia, the risk of a detached retina, cataracts and glaucoma increases. Special contacts or atropine eye drops have been found to be effective in slowing the progression of high myopia. Degenerative myopia is both inherited and rare. Just like high myopia, the eyeball grows longer but the degenerative form is severe and progresses by the teenage or early adult years. Elevated risks include a detached retina, abnormal blood vessel growth and glaucoma.
LASIK is the most common laser operation for myopia, but Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) and Small Incision Lenticule Extraction (SMILE) are other laser operations for myopia. With LASIK surgery, a surgeon uses a laser to create a thin flap on the top layer of the cornea. The cornea is then sculpted with another laser and then the flap is moved back into place. With PRK surgery, a surgeon removes the thin top layer of the cornea and with an excimer laser permanently changes the shape of the cornea. With SMILE surgery, a surgeon uses a femtosecond laser to create a tiny incision in the cornea to remove the lenticule (lens shaped bit of tissue) from the eye. SMILE does not require a corneal flap like LASIK, so fewer corneal nerves are affected by the procedure accounting for less risk of dry eyes than LASIK. SMILE is a relatively new type of laser operation for myopia that is most beneficial to those with mild myopia only while LASIK and PRK can correct varying degrees of nearsightedness as well as farsightedness and astigmatism.
If you are nearsighted, you have options to correct your vision. Rosenbaum Eye and Laser Center will help you determine which laser operation for myopia is best suited for you. For a comprehensive exam, call our office at 517-393-2020 or schedule online at website.