The eye is an optical lens system which allows us to see the world around us.  For the eye to see, light needs to focus onto the retina.  When the optical axis is clear (there is no opacity obstructing the light to reach the retina), but the light does not focus onto the retina, a refractive error is present, making objects appear blurry or out of focus.

Refractive surgery is a procedure in which the focus point of the eye is changed to alleviate the need for spectacles or contact lenses. 


What Are the Indications for Refractive Surgery?

Refractive errors, including myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), presbyopia, and astigmatism, make objects appear blurry or out of focus. In most routine cases the error can be corrected with either spectacles or contact lenses.  

However, some patients’ refractive errors are of such a nature that neither spectacles nor contact lenses are tolerated or give good enough visual results.  In these cases, surgery has a clear indication. 

Refractive surgery is always elective and voluntary.  

Do I Qualify for Refractive Surgery?

Patients between the ages of 18 and 50 should qualify for corneal refractive surgery because there are only a few contraindications for this type of procedure. 

If you are considering refractive surgery you should consult a Refractive Surgeon. Only a Refractive Surgeon can decide whether refractive surgery is possible or not and determine the risks involved for you as an individual. 

If I Am Older Than 50 Can I Still Qualify?

Cataract formation is usually the considering factor in lens versus corneal refractive surgery. Therefore, for patients above the age of 50 who would like to undergo refractive surgery, one has to consider the lens and presbyopia status.

Below the age of 50, we quickly opt for corneal surgery because we know that the patient should enjoy at least ten years of excellent vision before the development of cataracts. 

After the age of 60, we seldom do primary corneal refractive surgery because we know that the patient already has some form of cataract and this is bound to get only worse. 

The lens surgery options available in presbyopic patients also gives us more options to manage refractive problems. To learn more about Presbyopia Refractive Surgery CLICK HERE.

We weigh up all possibilities and factors including the number of surgeries, presbyopia correction and presence of cataracts.

Please note, however, that there is no upper limit to corneal laser surgery. Anybody that would like to be spectacle free, no matter the patient's age or lens status, could qualify for surgery. Therefore, a Refractive Surgeon needs to have a look and decide.

What Procedure Options Are There?

At Dr TC Botha, We offer a range of safe and effective treatment options to assist in correcting refractive errors and helping you achieve clear vision. These options include: LASIK, TransPRK, ICL (Implantable Contact Lens), Lens Exchange, Piggyback Intraocular Lens (IOL), Multifocal IOLs, and Extended Depth of Field IOLs.

Our most commonly performed refractive procedures (in rooms) include LASIK and TransPRK.

Is Refractive Surgery Safe?

The modern refractive surgery procedure is extremely safe.  It is seen as one of the safest procedures of any kind that can be done, with a combined risk of less than 0.1% irrespective of which exact procedure is used.  

What Are the Potential Complications of Refractive Surgery?

Although refractive surgery is extremely safe there are complications that can occur.  Some of the more common complications are discussed below.

Don't let refractive errors hold you back from enjoying life to the fullest!