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Glossary of Laser Eye Surgery Terms

Published on 3rd January 2017

We appreciate that there are many unusual words relating to your eye health and laser eye surgery, so we've put them all in a glossary for quick reference!

  • Ablation:
    The process of removing tissue from the cornea by irradiating it with a laser beam. 
    The SCHWIND AMARIS ® 500E system perfectly combines efficiency and safety with its compact, ergonomic. The SCHWIND AMARIS 500E is trusted by eye surgeons, and the outstanding performance of this compact laser system is verified by numerous studies. Read more here.
  • Aspheric:
    Aspheric is a term used to describe a shape that isn’t perfectly spherical. An aspheric contour gradually changes in curvature from the centre out to the edge.  
  • Astigmatism:
    Astigmatism means that your eye isn’t perfectly round and is more the shape of a rugby ball than a football. Find out more about astigmatism here.
  • Cataracts:
    A cataract is a clouding of the lens within the eye that is reducing vision. To find out more about cataracts and laser eye surgery click here.

  • Cornea:
    The cornea is the transparent layer which forms the front of the eye that covers the iris, pupil and anterior chamber.

  • Dry eye syndrome:
    A lot of people experience dry eye symptoms. Most of these symptoms are due to the environment we are in, for example; air conditioned rooms, centrally heated rooms, dry atmosphere like on an airplane etc. To find out more about dry eye syndrome click here.
  • Epithelium:
    Corneal epithelium is a layer of tissue which protects the cornea.
  • Glaucoma:
    Glaucoma is a term that describes a group of eye conditions that affect vision. Read more here.

  • LASIK:
    LASIK means laser in situ keratomileusis and is the most popular laser eye treatment due to the speed of visual recovery. Read more here: How does laser eye treatment work?

  • Microkeratome:
    A microkeratome is a precision surgical instrument with an oscillating blade designed for creating the corneal flap in LASIK laser eye surgery.
  • Nystagmus:
    Nystagmus is the involuntary movement of the eye usually from side to side but it can occur with movement up and down or even in a circular motion. Find out more about Nystagmus here.

  • Ophthalmologist:
    An ophthalmologist is a physician (doctor of medicine, MD, or doctor of osteopathy, DO) who specializes in the medical and surgical care of the eyes and visual system and in the prevention of eye disease and injury. Find out more about our Ophthalmologists here.

  • Optometrist:
    An optometrist is an eye doctor who has earned the Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree. Optometrists examine eyes for both vision and health problems, and correct refractive errors by prescribing eyeglasses and contact lenses. 

  • Refractive surgery: Refractive surgery is eye surgery to improve the refractive state of the eyes to decrease or eliminate the dependency on glasses or contact lenses.


All eye surgical procedures carry a level of risk including not obtaining the desired outcome, through to varying levels of visual loss. Your eye surgeon will discuss the risks and benefits, including ones specific to your circumstances, at the time of your pre-operative consultation.