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The Wonders of Lasik
Making Corrective Eyewear a Thing of the Past
By the end of this century, about the only place you'll find eyeglasses and contact lenses will be on display in a museum. The need for corrective eyewear is dwindling fast, mostly due to ongoing advancements in laser eye surgery.
Nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism are all focusing problems within the eye. For nearsightedness and astigmatism, the problem stems from a misshaped cornea. But through laser surgery, the curvature of the cornea can be slightly changed, creating the correct focus and resulting in perfect vision.
The term "Lasik" refers to a two-step version of laser surgery which starts by cutting tiny flaps in the corneal tissue. Underneath these flaps lies the stroma, or middle section of the cornea. Tiny incisions are made in the stroma, changing its shape. The flaps are then replaced and the healing process begins.
With the flaps acting as band-aids, Lasik surgery promotes a quicker healing process than regular laser surgery. Many patients are actually back to work within one day. Lasik's most common side effect is "improved" vision rather than "perfect" version. When this occurs, the doctor revisits the procedure, perfecting the curvature and refining the results.
When we reach our 40s, we begin to experience another change in vision. There's a lens inside the eye which alters its shape, allowing us to see both near and far. As we get older, this lens grows stiffer while the muscles around it weaken. This is known as Presbyopia, and it makes the transition between seeing near and far much more difficult.
Attempts to correct this problem usually begin with bifocals and bifocal contact lenses, with the latter tending to provide lackluster results. You can also opt for monovision, a technique where one contact lens is adjusted for seeing close up, and the other for seeing far away. Monovision can also be accomplished through laser surgery.
Another procedure, currently being perfected, utilizes 4 small plastic bands known as SEBs or Scleral Expansion Bands. These bands are inserted in the whites of the eyes and increase the working distance of the muscle which control the lens. In effect, your eyes would return to their much younger form.
Dr. Andrew Caster is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Medical School. He performed his residency at UCLA's Jules Stein Eye Institute. Dr. Caster has been selected by Los Angeles Magazine as the "Best Laser Eye Surgeon in Los Angeles", having performed more than 12,000 laser vision correction procedures. He is also the author of The Eye Laser Miracle: The Complete Guide to Better Vision.
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