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Refractive Errors Treatment Information
If you have one or more refractive errors, you may be able to choose between nonsurgical and surgical correction approaches.
Nonsurgical treatments include:
- Eyeglasses. As a simple, safe and effective solution, eyeglasses are the most common method of correcting refractive errors. They bend light so that it focuses directly on the retina. Lenses and frames come in a variety of styles, materials and finishes.
- Contact lenses. Contact lenses work in the same way as eyeglasses, but they rest directly on the eye. Advantages over eyeglasses can include greater comfort, clearer sight and a wider field of vision. However, you must follow specific instructions for handling, storing and cleaning the lenses in order to avoid infections and other problems. Many types of lenses are available to suit your needs.
Surgical treatments include:
- Laser in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK) surgery. In this procedure, we cut a flap into the cornea. We then use a laser to reshape the underlying layers of corneal tissue with computer-aided precision. After the treatment, light will fall directly on the retina to create clear vision. LASIK usually does not cause pain or discomfort. You can go home after the procedure, but your vision will be blurry for a few hours. You will likely be able to return to work within a few days.
- Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK). This procedure is similar to LASIK but does not involve a flap. Instead, we remove the outer layer of the cornea in order to reach the underlying tissue. The outer layer will grow back. Recovery from PRK can take up to a week, and you may feel some discomfort and eye irritation while healing. Full stabilization of your vision can take as long as six months.
Refractive Errors Locations & Physicians
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Refractive Errors Support Services
The more you understand about refractive errors, the better equipped you will be to work with your ophthalmologist on a treatment plan. Learn more at these websites:
A Sampling of Refractive Errors Support Services
Eugene and Marilyn Glick Eye Institute
As part of the Indiana University School of Medicine, the Glick Eye Institute offers patient fact sheets on refractive errors and other common conditions.
American Academy for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus
This professional medical society outlines the kinds of refractive errors that commonly affect children.
National Eye Institute
This U.S. federal agency explains refractive errors in easy-to-understand language.