Refractive surgery

Rupa Shah, Yuri McKee, J. Bradley Randleman, Timothy W. Olsen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Refractive surgery is performed to reduce dependence on glasses or contact lenses. Refractive surgical techniques reshape the cornea using incisions, heat, various forms of laser, or implantation of intraocular lenses to decrease myopia (nearsightedness), astigmatism, or hyperopia (farsightedness). The excimer laser is currently the technology of choice for keratorefractive surgeons. The laser can reshape the cornea by ablating the anterior corneal surface in procedures such as photorefractive keratectomy (PRK), and more commonly in laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK). In LASIK, the surgeon performs corneal stromal ablation using the excimer laser directed to the corneal tissue under a thin lamellar flap. This flap is created by either a microkeratome or a laser. In order to select the best candidates for refractive surgery, a thorough preoperative history, assessment, and complete eye exam is required. Parameters such as corneal topography, central corneal thickness, degree of refractive error, ocular surface health and patient expectations are all carefully considered in order to determine whether the individual is a good refractive surgical candidate, as well as for selecting the most appropriate procedure. Absolute contraindications to laser vision correction include diagnoses of keratoconus or ectatic corneal dystrophies. Relative systemic contraindications include poorly controlled rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes, pregnancy, and AIDS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMedical Management of the Surgical Patient
Subtitle of host publicationA Textbook of Perioperative Medicine, Fifth Edition
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages2
ISBN (Electronic)9780511920660
ISBN (Print)9781107009165
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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