Laser eye surgery is one of the most commonly performed procedures, with over 30 million people world-wide choosing to undergo this life-changing surgery. Thousands of people across Ireland have benefited from having laser eye surgery and are now enjoying life free of glasses and contact lenses.
Well known celebrities who have had laser eye surgery include Tiger Woods, Courtney Cox, Brad Pitt and our very own, ex Munster Rugby player and All Blacks record try scorer, Doug Howlett, who had laser eye surgery at Optilase in June 2011.
The cornea at the front of the eye holds the greatest focusing ability of the eye. In people who require glasses or contact lenses, the cornea can be reshaped to improve its focusing ability and remove the need for corrective eyewear.
Laser eye surgery uses a cool beam “Excimer” laser to gently reshape the cornea with the entire procedure taking only a matter of minutes to complete.
Normal vision is achieved when the cornea (the clear portion at the front of the eye) and the lens inside the eye are able to ‘bend’ or refract light rays entering the eye. The light rays should all focus at the same point on the retina at the back of the eye, and so you then ‘see’ a clear image. With a normal vision, both close and far away objects can be seen perfectly.
When the cornea is not an ideal shape, or if the length of your eye is too long or too short from front to back, you will experience problems with your vision. These problems mean the light rays coming into the eye are not focused where they should be on the retina at the back of the eye.
Depending on the exact nature of the vision problem, the light rays instead get focused on front of or behind the retina, rather than on the retina. This will result in a blurry image instead of clear sight. Below, you’ll see the most common vision problems:
With myopia the eye is longer than normal so that light is focused in front of the retina and distant objects appear blurred. Read more about myopia here
With hyperopia the eye is shorter than normal, so that light is focused behind the retina. The image on the retina is blurred. Objects up close are blurred and hard to read. Read more about hyperopia here
Astigmatism is a condition where the cornea is shaped like a rugby ball (oval) rather than a football (round). This causes light rays to focus at different points, and so people with astigmatism will have trouble seeing objects near and far away. Things may appear blurry at various distances; it depends on the nature of the astigmatism in each patient. Read more about astigmatism here