The full name of LASIK is laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, which is a very large mouthful. Many people know the short term LASIK but only a small fraction of them really know what it comprises. It is true that the long name of the surgery means little for the public. Ordinary people only need to be clear that LASIK is a form of laser surgery used to reshape the corneal surface, which in turn corrects refractive errors.
The cornea is responsible for focusing light and then bending it to produce an image on the retina. However, some people with an abnormal eye length are unable to focus light that enters the eye in a proper way, which is commonly referred as refractive errors. These people’s ability to focus light is diminished, resulting in blurred or distorted vision.
LASIK is just one type of laser surgeries that correct refractive errors. A LASIK surgeon will cut a small flap in the cornea, which is formally named corneal flip. After that, the flip will be folded back for further steps. And then the surgeon vaporizes a small portion of the cornea using a laser. The flip will be folded back up after enough corneal tissue has been removed. With the proper reshaping of the corneal surface, the eye has an improved ability to focus and bend light. Of course, eyesight also improves.
In addition to LASIK procedure, there are still other primary refractive procedures that can provide similar visual corrective effect. With the full name of radial keratotomy, RK is another option. This procedure creates tiny incisions in the cornea in order to flatten it slightly. Widely known as PRK, photorefractive keratotomy is quite similar to LASIK. PRK applies laser on the outside of the cornea, which is the main difference from LASIK.
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