What Are Common LASIK Terms?Author: Dr. William Tullo
March 20, 2019
If you have been reading up on laser eye surgery, you may have come across many terms, including names for procedures, various medical tools, and other technical jargon. It can be confusing to sort out the meanings of all these terms, as well as how they relate to your vision needs.
We’ve compiled a list of some of the common terms you are likely to see when researching LASIK:
Aberrations (higher and lower order): In reference to vision, aberrations are imperfections in one’s eye and/or vision which causes light rays to improperly focus image formations. These are typically classified as higher-order and lower-order aberrations. Lower order aberrations include myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism, which can be treated by laser eye surgery. Higher order aberrations are more difficult to correct.
Ablation zone: This is the area of eye tissue that is removed during laser eye surgery.
Acuity: The level of clearness or sharpness of vision. It is typically measured in high contract terms of black letters on a white background.
Astigmatism: A common condition that results in a distortion of the image on the retina of the eye. This is due the curvature of the cornea is greater in one meridian as compared to a meridian 90 degrees away. Laser eye surgery can be used to treat certain types of astigmatism.
Bilateral LASIK: This term means that the LASIK surgery is being performed on both eyes.
Bladeless LASIK: In this form of LASIK, a femtosecond laser is used to create the initial corneal flap, rather than a blade. This is also referred to as All Laser LASIK.
Cornea: The cornea is the front part of the eye which is the first refracting surface of the eye. During laser eye surgery, the cornea is reshaped.
Diopter: A diopter is the term of measurement for refractive error. A negative diopter indicates myopia, and a positive diopter indicates hyperopia.
Excimer laser: This laser is used during LASIK procedures to reshape the cornea breaking carbon bonds and vaporizing tissue.
Halos: This vision error presents as rings of light due to imperfections in the optical system.
Hyperopia: Commonly referred to as farsightedness, this is the inability to see near objects as clearly as far objects.
Laser: Laser is an acronym for “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation.” In medical terms, a laser is a device that uses a powerful beam of light to cut tissue.
LASIK: LASIK is an acronym for “laser in situ keratomileusis.” This phrase refers to the process of creating a flap in the cornea during vision correction surgery.
Microkeratome: A surgical instrument with an oscillating blade used to create the corneal flap in some types of LASIK surgery.
Myopia: Commonly referred to as nearsightedness, this is the inability to see far objects as clearly as near objects.
PRK Laser Eye Surgery: PRK stands for “Photo Refractive Keratectomy.” In this type of refractive surgery, an excimer laser is used to reshape the curve of the cornea.
Presbyopia: This is a farsightedness that typically occurs with age – usually sometime after 40 - due to the loss of elasticity of the lens of the eye. This eye condition typically requires reading glasses to better see close objects.
Refractive errors: These are imperfections in the focusing power of the eye. Hyperopia, myopia, and astigmatism are all types of refractive errors.
SMILE Laser Eye Surgery: SMILE is an acronym for “small incision lenticule extraction.” The SMILE eye surgery procedure, FDA approved in 2016 for the correction of nearsightedness, is a one-laser process without the need to create a corneal flap.
Topography-Guided LASIK: This is a LASIK technological advancement from Contoura® Vision which allows the surgeon to obtain more detailed information and measurements on the structure of the eye and cornea which provides a more individualized, customization for the LASIK procedure.
Wavefront LASIK: In this type of laser eye surgery, specialized technology is used to create a 3-D map of the eye, noting all refractive errors. This mapping allows for precise vision correction surgery.