Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic Staff

The goal of treating nearsightedness is to help focus light on your retina through the use of corrective lenses or refractive surgery.

Corrective lenses

Wearing corrective lenses treats nearsightedness by counteracting the increased curvature of your cornea or the increased length of your eye. Types of corrective lenses include:

  • Eyeglasses. Eyeglasses come in a wide variety of styles and are easy to use. Eyeglasses can correct a number of vision problems at once, such as myopia and astigmatism. Eyeglasses may be the easiest and most economical correction solution.
  • Contact lenses. A wide variety of contact lenses are available — hard, soft, extended wear, disposable, rigid gas permeable (RGP) and bifocal. Ask your eye doctor about their pros and cons and what might be best for you.

Refractive surgery

This treatment corrects nearsightedness by reshaping the curvature of your cornea. Refractive surgery methods include:

  • Laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK). LASIK is a procedure in which an ophthalmologist makes a thin, circular hinged cut that extends partly into your cornea. Your eye surgeon then removes layers from the center of your cornea to flatten its domed shape.
  • Laser-assisted subepithelial keratomileusis (LASEK). Instead of creating a flap in the cornea, the surgeon creates a flap only in the cornea's thin protective cover (epithelium). Your surgeon will use a laser to reshape the cornea's outer layers and flatten its curvature and then reposition the epithelial flap. To encourage healing, a bandage contact lens is worn for several days after this procedure.
  • Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK). This procedure is similar to LASEK, except the surgeon removes the epithelium. It will grow back naturally, conforming to your cornea's new shape. Like LASEK, PRK requires the use of a bandage contact lens following the procedure.
  • Intraocular lens (IOL) implant. These lenses are surgically implanted into the eye, in front of the eye's natural lens. They may be an option for people with moderate to severe myopia. IOL implants are not currently considered a mainstream treatment option.

All eye surgeries have some degree of risk; possible complications from these eye procedures include infection, corneal scarring, blurred distance vision, vision loss and visual aberrations, such as seeing halos around lights at night. Discuss the potential risks with your doctor.

Mar. 03, 2012

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