Farsighted: Can LASIK help?

Farsighted. That means you can see far away. Nearsighted and farsighted seem kind of ambiguously named since it's not really clear whether they are named after what your eye is good at or bad at. As a kid, I would always have to look up whether nearsighted or farsighted meant you couldn't see near. Outside, I would sometimes hear kids playing with something called a "football" with people they called their "friends." But more to the point, I've got a good grasp on what it means to be farsighted or nearsighted now. Farsighted people have bad near vision.

So the question,"Does LASIK help people who are farsighted?" usually means, "Does LASIK have the ability to help people with their reading vision?" The simple answer is "yes". The slightly more complex answer is "in some cases". I will now tell you why. Or, you can take off your glasses, skip the rest of this blog and just come in to see me and I'll be happy to tell you if you are a candidate for 3D LASIK to treat your farsightedness. At least after reading this much you know nearsighted from farsighted if someone asks you.

The next two paragraphs are for the "detail" people of the world who happen to also have an interest in science. You'll quickly find out if you are one of those people if you jerk awake in your chair in a few moments wondering how many sentences you read before you dozed off. Farsighted is a colloquialism for hyperopia. Hyperopic people have eyes that focus light beyond where it is supposed to be focused. The eye doesn't have enough focusing power. (That's why all the prescriptions for glasses for farsighted people have a + before the number. You're adding power.) The steeper the curve on a lens, the more powerful it is. So, to correct hyperopia with LASIK we have to make the cornea a bit steeper. Making something steeper with a laser is a bit more complicated than making something flatter. To make something flatter, you ablate (remove) some tissue from the center of the dome. But to make it

steeper, you can't add tissue to the center, the laser only takes tissue away; you have to ablate the periphery and leave the center of the cornea alone so that you create a cornea that is steeper in the middle and flatter on the sides.

Two quick notes about that. One, lasers were really bad at that until the Wavelight laser came out a few years ago. They only got people to 20/20 about 70% of the time, and the regression rate ("well, it worked for a few years") was super high. The Wavelight laser (the one here at Hunter Vision; there are Wavelights at other good laser centers in the U.S. too) has optics and software that allow it to treat the periphery much more accurately. So 20/20 rates are just shy of 100% and regression is way less common. Secondly, you can't make a cornea too steep without screwing up the optics. So it is even more important that farsighted people have the right pre-operative imaging and diagnostics for screening out people who aren't perfect candidates.

Now you know that 3D LASIK can cure farsightedness. It CAN help you see near. It's the coolest surgery in the world. While the degree of correction with optimal optics for farsightedness is, in general, not quite as liberal as the degree of correction with optimal optics for nearsightedness, it's still an option for many.

If you read all of this and understand it, then you should come work here because I bet we'd really like each other. If you wish you would have read a tax form or an insurance policy instead because it would have bored you less, I don't blame you. It's more enjoyable to just go through the 3D LASIK consultation. I get great joy out of being a details person in the world of LASIK and eyeballs so that you don't have to be.

Hyperopia, Farsighted, LASIK
This video explaining hyperopia is 90% helpful and 10% creepy. (To me anyway. CGI people give me the heebie jeebies.)


Category: Astigmatism

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