Refractive Research

Refractive research focuses on advanced techniques for vision correction.

Millions of Americans have reduced visual acuity due to inaccurate focusing of the light entering their eyes (i.e., refractive error). Most commonly this is the result of one of the following:

  • Myopia: In this condition, also known as nearsightedness, either the length or the optics of the eye causes light to focus in front of the retina, instead of on it, resulting in a blurred image. People with myopia also may experience eyestrain, poor night vision and squinting.
  • Hyperopia: In this condition, also known as farsightedness, the reverse is true. Either the length or the optics of the eye causes light to focus behind the retina, resulting in a blurred image. As with myopia, people with hyperopia may experience eyestrain and squinting.
  • Astigmatism: In this condition, the normally round cornea is asymmetrical in shape (like an egg), causing some portions of the image to be blurred while other portions are clear. People with astigmatism also may experience distorted vision, eyestrain and other disruptions in acuity.
  • Presbyopia: In this age-related condition, the lens of the eye loses its flexibility, which can make it difficult to focus on near objects.
  • Cataract: This is also an age-related condition. Cataracts cause the lens of the eye to lose transparency, thereby decreasing the amount of light reaching the retina and blurring the retinal image.

These conditions often can be addressed with refractive procedures such as LASIK and PRK surgery, as well as with newer, alternative refractive procedures.

Advances in refractive research

Our recent and ongoing refractive research focuses on four emerging areas of vision correction:

  • Laser cataract surgery: This new technology uses an image-guided system to assist refractive cataract surgeons. Henry Ford ophthalmologists have performed numerous laser-assisted cataract surgeries using the LenSx® system, the first femtosecond laser cleared for use in cataract surgery.
  • Refractive lens exchange: Using this new technique, especially when combined with the LenSx system, our Henry Ford surgeons may be able to exchange a pre-cataractous lens with an intraocular lens (IOL) to correct a refractive error in a patient who may not be a candidate for PRK or LASIK. Using this technique, together with a presbyopic correcting IOL, may enable a patient to eliminate their glasses altogether.
  • Intraocular lenses: LASIK and PRK use laser refractive procedures to remove portions of a person’s existing cornea, changing the shape and focusing characteristics of the eye. Intraocular lenses (IOLs), on the other hand, leave the natural cornea untouched. An IOL is custom-made and surgically implanted into the eye, and it is the combination of the natural cornea and this artificial lens that corrects vision.
  • Monovision: This presbyopia treatment is used as an alternative to bifocals in some patients, and works by using different contact lenses, intraocular lenses or surgical corrections to correct near vision in one eye, and to correct far vision in the other eye. These two corrective forces, when used together in standard binocular vision, typically balance out to make a person’s vision appear normal.

Advanced treatment for refractive conditions

Henry Ford refractive specialists have extensive experience in refractive procedures for cataracts and other refractive conditions. In addition, our team works closely with Henry Ford Medical Group physicians in other departments, providing multidisciplinary, coordinated care for those patients who need it. Our patients have access to advanced diagnostic tests and treatment and, if eligible, related clinical trials.