Refractive surgery is a subspecialty focused on the correction of visual flaws. These visual flaws, also called “refractive errors” include myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, and presbyopia. The goal of refractive surgery is to eliminate or significantly decrease the dependence on visual aids like glasses or contact lenses.
The recent proliferation of “Laser Centers,” has created the impression that Laser Vision Correction or “LASIK” can treat all kinds of refractive errors at a very low cost. The truth, however, is that LASIK is a highly sophisticated and very successful procedure only if it is performed on perfectly eligible candidates. There are many options for surgical vision correction if you are not perfectly eligible for LASIK. The role of a skilled refractive surgeon is to assess each patient’s individual situation and select the best and safest option to suit their needs. Different factors must be considered, including the magnitude and type of refractive error, the patient’s age, visual demands, and other ocular conditions.
If you are considering any sort of refractive surgical procedure, it is better to consult with a subspecialty trained refractive surgeon, instead of a run-of-the-mill laser center. Subspecialty trained refractive surgeons spend an additional year after their residency learning highly specialized techniques. This training allows them to evaluate and treat refractive errors more reliably. Most fellowship trained refractive surgeons are simultaneously trained in corneal surgery and management of external eye diseases. This makes them more qualified to prevent and manage rare, but potential complications associated with these surgical procedures.