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In LASIK surgery, to delicately remove tissue.

Ablation zone

The area of tissue that is removed during laser surgery.


The ability of the eye to change its focus from objects at a distance to objects nearby / close-up.


Clearness, or sharpness of vision. Visual acuity often is referred to as "Snellen" acuity. The standard eye chart and the letters are named for a 19th-century Dutch ophthalmologist Hermann Snellen who created them as a test of visual acuity; the clarity or clearness of one's vision - a measure of how well a person sees.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD, ARMD)

A group of conditions that include deterioration of the macula, resulting in loss of sharp central vision. Two general types: "dry", which is more common, and "wet", in which abnormal new blood vessels grow under the retina and leak fluid and blood, further disturbing macular function. This is the possibly the most common cause of decreased vision as we age.


A condition sometimes called "lazy eye." Decreased vision in one or both eyes without detectable damage to the retina or visual pathways.

Amsler Grid

A chart featuring a grid of horizontal and vertical lines used to monitor a person's central visual field. It is a diagnostic tool that aids in the detection of visual disturbances caused by changes in the retina, optic nerve and the cisual pathway to the brain.

Anterior Chamber

The fluid filled space inside the eye between the iris and the innermost corneal surface.


A distortion of the image on the retina caused by irregularities in the cornea or lens. Astigmatism means that the cornea is oval like a football instead of spherical like a basketball, and reduces the cornea's ability to focus light.

Binocular Vision

The ability to use both eyes at once.


Charachterized by inflammation of the eyelids, usually with redness, swelling, and itching.


A change in the structure or an opacity that develops in the crystalline lens that causes blurred vision. Cataracts develop from a variety of reasons, including long-term ultraviolet exposure, secondary effects of diseases such as diabetes, and advanced age.


Also known as the choroidea or choroid coat, this vascular layer of the eye between the retina and the sclera, aroound 0.5 mm thick. The choroid provides oxygen and nourishment to the outer layers of the retina.

Ciliary Body

The part of the eye that produces aqueous humor - the fluid that fills the eye behind the cornea, in front of the crystalline lens.

Color Blindness

A reduced ability to discriminate between colors; particularly shades of red and green.


The collaboration between two or more doctors in caring for a patient. For refractive surgery, usually an optometrist co-manages with an ophthalmologist. The optometrist often provides the pre-operative testing and post-operative care, while the ophthalmologist performs the actual surgery.

Conductive Keratoplasty

Also called CK; a type of refractive surgery which uses radio waves through a tiny probe to create planned shrinkage of the cornea, tehreby reducing or eliminating hyperopia or astigmatism.


The membrane that lines the exposed eyeball and the inside of the eyelid.

Conventional LASIK

Another term for LASIK; a type of refractive laser eye surgery performed by ophthalmologists for correcting myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism.


The clear, dome shaped, front part of the eye that covers the iris, pupil, and anterior chamber, providing most of an eye's optical power. In conjunction with the lens, the cornea refracts light, and helps the eye to focus.

Corneal Curvature

The shape of the front surface of the eye.

Corneal Haze

An after-effect of Excimer laser surgery, where the cornea develops opaque white cells which cloud the vision. It can cause glare from bright lights and a vague fogginess of vision. It usually clears up with time (sometimes as long as 6 or 8 months). If it persists, an enhancement procedure may be able to reduce it. With the technological advancements in laser vision correction. there is less incidence of haze.

Corneal Topography

A computer-generated map of the surface contour and curvature of the cornea. This procedure is useful for detecting corneal astigmatism, or any other conditions that may impact the surgical outcome.


The trade name for a wavefront-guided LASIK procedure using the VISX S4 Excimer laser.


The measurement of optical power or refractive error. A negative diopter value signifies an eye with myopia and positive diopter value signifies an eye with hyperopia.


Double vision; the perception of two images from one object - images may be horizontal, vertical or even diagonal.

Dry Eye Syndrome

A common condition that is caused by decreased tear production or increased tear film evaporation. The most common symptoms of dry eye syndrome include burning, itching, stinging, scratchiness, and periodic blurry vision. Some believe this condition is most prominent in menopausal women.


The outermost layer of cells of the cornea and the eye's first defense against infection.

Excimer laser

An ultraviolet laser used in refractive surgery to remove corneal tissue. This type of laser is currently used for the majority of vision correction procedures performed today.


The common term for hyperopia, and the opposite of nearsightedness.


The abbreviation for the Food and Drug Administration. It is the United States governmental agency responsible for the evaluation and approval of medical devices.

Ghost Image

A fainter, second / duplicate image of the object you are viewing.


Scatter or additional lustre from bright lights that decreases vision.


A group of diseases of the optic nerve involving loss of retinal ganglion cells in a characteristic pattern of optic neuropathy.

Rings around lights due to optical imperfections in or in front of the eye.

Higher Order Aberrations

Refractive errors, other than nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism, that cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses.


Commonly called farsightedness, this is the inability to see near objects as clearly as distant objects, and the need for accommodation, typically eyeglasses or contact lenses, to see distant objects clearly.

Informed Consent Form

A document provided to every patient prior to surgery disclosing the risks, benefits, and alternatives to all elective procedures.


IntraLase is the manufacturer of a femtosecond laser for use in creating a LASIK flap and other precise corneal incisions.


LASIK with the corneal flap being created by a femtosecond laser rather than with a mechanical microkeratome.

In Situ

A Latin term meaning "in place" or not removed.


An acronym for Intraocular Lens, an IOL is a man-made silicon or plastic lens used to replace the natural crystalline lens of the eye. IOL's are used in cataract surgery, Phakic Intraocular Lens (P-IOL) implantation, or Clear Lens Exchange.


The colored ring of tissue suspended behind the cornea and immediately in front of the lens.


The surgical removal of corneal tissue.


Inflammation of the cornea.


A surgical incision of the cornea.


Prefix indicating relationship to the cornea.


A disorder characterized by an irregular corneal surface (cone-shaped) resulting in blurred and distorted images.


Carving of the cornea to reshape it.


LASEK is similar to PRK in that the top layer of the cornea is removed, and no flap is cut. The difference between LASEK and PRK is that the top layer of the cornea is removed by a laser instead of being scraped away as with PRK.


The acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. A laser is an instrument that produces a powerful beam of light that can vaporize tissue.

Laser Vision Correction

The generic term for any the variations of the LASIK procedure.


The acronym for Laser ASsisted In situ Keratomileusis which refers to creating a flap in the cornea with a microkeratome and using a laser to reshape the underlying cornea.


The part of the eye that provides some focusing power. The lens is able to change shape allowing the eye to focus at different distances.


The portion of the eye that allows us to see fine details clearly.


A precision surgical device that is affixed to the eye by use of a vacuum ring. When secured, a very sharp blade cuts a layer of the cornea at a precise predetermined depth, creating the flap in LASIK.


The purposeful adjustment of one eye for near vision and the other eye for distance vision.


Often called nearsightedness, this is the inability to see distant objects as clearly as near objects.


The common term for myopia.


An eye care professional specializing in the diagnosis and medical or surgical treatment of visual disorders and eye disease.


An expert in the art and science of making and fitting glasses and may also dispense contact lenses.


A primary eye care professional who diagnoses, manages, and treats disorders of the visual system and eye diseases.


A complication of refractive surgery where the achieved amount of correction is more than desired.


An instrument for measuring of the thickness of the cornea. The purpose of measuring is to determine the thickness of the cornea prior to PRK or LASIK treatment, so as not to exceed the maximum treatment depth.


The acronym for PhotoRefractive Keratectomy; a procedure involving the removal of the surface layer of the cornea (epithelium) by gentle scraping and use of a computer-controlled excimer laser to reshape the stroma.


The inability to maintain a clear image as objects move closer.


Caused by reduced elasticity of the lens with increasing age. From our mid-forties to early sixties, close focusing becomes increasingly difficult. A form of farsightedness.


The center of the iris that changes size in response to changes in lighting. It gets larger in dim lighting conditions and gets smaller in brighter lighting conditions. he pupil allows light to pass through to the back of the eye.

Radial Keratotomy

Commonly referred to as RK; a surgical procedure designed to correct myopia by flattening the cornea using radial cuts.


A test to determine the refractive power of the eye, and the best corrective lenses to be prescribed.

Refractive Error

Imperfections in the focusing power of the eye, for example, hyperopia, myopia, and astigmatism.

Refractive Power

The ability of an object, such as the eye, to bend light as light passes through it.


A layer of fine sensory tissue that lines the inside wall of the eye. The retina sneses light and creates impulses and sends the signals to the brain.


The tough, white, outer layer of the eyeball that, along with the cornea, protects the eyeball.

Snellen Visual Acuity Chart

One of many charts used to measure vision.


The middle, thickest layer of tissue in the cornea.


A test measuring the pressure inside the eye, which is called intraocular pressure (IOP).


A complication of refractive surgery where the achieved amount of correction is less than desired.

Visual Acuity

The clearness of vision; the ability to distinguish details and shapes.

Vitreous Humor

The transparent, colorless mass of gel-like substance that lies behind the lens and in front of the retina and fills the center of the eye.


A measure of the total refractive errors of the eye, including nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and other refractive errors that cannot be corrected with glasses or contacts.