A refractive error means that your eyesight is blurry because it does not bend light the way it should.
There are a few types of refractive errors. They include:
- Myopia (nearsightedness): You can clearly see things that are close by, but far away objects are blurry.
- Hyperopia (farsightedness): You can clearly see things that are far away, but things that are close are blurry. In severe cases, things are blurry at any distance.
- Astigmatism (irregular cornea): The surface of your eye curves asymmetrically, causing distortion and blurriness at all distances.
- Presbyopia (near vision loss because of age): You’ve experienced some loss of vision because of aging which causes less flexibility in your natural lenses.
If you have a refractive error, it usually just means you need correction of some sort to accommodate during your daily life. However, severe cases of refractive errors like myopia can come with a risk of retinal detachment. In any case, it’s important to seek out treatment sooner rather than later.
People with refractive errors generally use glasses and contact lenses to see clearly. For more permanent solutions, you can opt for LASIK surgery, PRK, ICLs, or Refractive Lens Exchange.
LASIK surgery is the most popular permanent vision correction procedure. LASIK is best for those with moderate myopia and hyperopia, as well as astigmatism. During this procedure, your surgeon will use laser technology to reshape the eye. After this, light will focus correctly onto the cornea, resulting in clearer vision.
PRK is very similar to LASIK surgery, but less popular because of its longer recovery time. This procedure is ideal for people who may not be suitable for LASIK surgery. If you have a weaker or thinner cornea, lead an active lifestyle or have had previous eye injuries, PRK may be a better option for you since no flap is required.
ICL, which stands for implantable collamer lenses, work very similarly to contact lenses, except that they are implanted inside the eye. These offer a more permanent solution to vision correction, and are reversible if results are not satisfactory. ICL works great for severe myopia and patients who are not candidates for LASIK/PRK.
Refractive lens exchange is performed the same way that cataract surgery is performed. The natural lens in the eye is completely replaced with a new, artificial lens. This is great for people with severe hyperopia and presbyopia, usually performed for patients not candidates for LASIK or PRK.
Want to know more about refractive errors and their treatments? Be sure to request an appointment with Anh Nguyen Ophthalmology today!