It's a heady prospect for those burdened by eyeglasses--reshaping the cornea itself so that the eye no longer needs help to see distant objects. Some 1.3 million Americans will undergo laser surgery this year, making the operation one of the most popular in the U.S. For about 2 percent of patients, however, laser in situ keratomileusis (better known as LASIK) has left them with vision that's worse or with annoying side effects such as starbursts when their pupils open wide. Now a more precise technique may lower the risks, correct problem results and even help eyeballs achieve the legendary vision of a hawk.
Currently in most LASIK procedures, a laser beam trims the cornea on a relatively broad scale. By correcting what is termed spherocylindrical error, the method usually results in light focused more accurately on the retina. But smaller-scale bumps and depressions that vary for each person go undetected and unimproved. That may soon change, thanks to adaptive optics--a system that measures light distortion and corrects it with
This article was originally published with the title Sight Unseen.