What Is Refractive Surgery? By Monterey County Eye Associates on September 28, 2022

A patient undergoing an eye examIf you wear glasses or contacts, refractive surgery can give you improved vision and freedom from corrective lenses. There are several types of refractive surgery. Your doctor will help you select the right one, depending on your eye health and the shape of your eye. Whichever one you ultimately select, you could enjoy 20/20 vision or better, all with minimal discomfort and recovery time.

If you want to know more about refractive surgery, the doctors at Monterey County Eye Associates are happy to answer all your questions at a personal consultation. We provide outstanding refractive surgery and other optical services to patients in Monterey, CA, Salinas, CA, and King City, CA.

Refractive Surgery: A Basic Outline

When you look at any object, light bounces off and passes through your eye. As it does, your lens bends the light, or refracts it, so that it focuses on the retina. If you suffer from a refractive error, such as those listed above, light will not focus correctly. Instead, it will focus in front of the retina, behind it, or in multiple locations.

Refractive surgery corrects the anatomy of the eye so that it is able to bend light correctly.

Candidates for Refractive Surgery

If you suffer from nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism, you may be a candidate for refractive surgery. In addition, the American Refractive Surgery Council states that you should meet certain criteria to qualify for treatment.

  • A stable lens prescription for at least two years prior to surgery
  • A lens prescription within a certain range
  • 18 years or older
  • Generally good ocular and physical health
  • Sufficiently thick corneas
  • Realistic expectations for your treatment outcome

Types of Refractive Surgery

Although LASIK is the most well-known refractive surgery, there are actually several types.

  • LASIK (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis): In the most common refractive procedure, your doctor will use a laser to create a flap in the outer surface of your eye. He or she will also use a laser to reshape your cornea and correct the path of light. Once the flap is back in place, it will heal on its own.
  • PRK: Although PRK has largely been supplanted by LASIK, it may be the optimal procedure for you. During PRK, your doctor will remove the epithelial layer, and then reshape the cornea.
  • Implantable contact lenses (ICL): As the name implies, an ICL is a corrective lens that goes directly in the eye. This surgery may be right for you if you suffer from more severe nearsightedness or if you have particularly thin corneas.

All of these procedures are safe, with negligible risks and side effects. Whichever type of refractive surgery you undergo, you could enjoy dramatically improved vision for life.

Contact Monterey County Eye Associates

To learn more about refractive surgery and to find out which type may be right for you, contact our Monterey, King City, or Salinas, CA, offices today.

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The team of doctors at Monterey County Eye Associates

Monterey County Eye Associates
Monterey Bay Eye Center

Our team of ophthalmologists provides state-of-the-art eye care using the latest technology. They are proud to be affiliated with: 

  • AAO: American Academy of Ophthalmology
  • ABO: American Board of Ophthalmology

To schedule an appointment at one of our four ophthalmologist office locations in Monterey, Salinas, and King City, contact us online or call (831) 424-1150.

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