Poor eyesight can stop you from enjoying many aspects of life and prevent you from participating in group activities, swimming and running. Traveling last minute is more cumbersome when you have to worry about contact lenses, cases, lens solutions and backup prescription eyeglasses. LASIK eye surgery can eliminate these everyday annoyances and save you money in the long run when you factor in the miscellaneous expenses and eye exams. Adults often wonder if LASIK is right for them but think their poor vision is too extreme to qualify.
Our ophthalmologists at Mack Eye Center can help you determine if LASIK or another vision correction procedure is right for you.
LASIK can address refractive errors caused by an abnormally shaped cornea, which is found at the front of your eye. The cornea works together with your eye’s lens to focus light onto the sensitive tissue lining the back of your eye called the retina. A refractive error occurs when light is focused incorrectly, causing blurry vision at one or more focal points.
It’s common for people to think they are not eligible for LASIK because they have astigmatism, but this refractive error is one of three vision problems that LASIK can correct. Astigmatism happens when the cornea has a steep curve that distorts the light coming into the eye, leading to blurry vision when you look nearby or far away. Instead of a round surface like a soccer ball, astigmatism causes a football shape, but LASIK fixes the contour so you can see clearly on all fronts.
Farsightedness, or hyperopia, causes blurry vision when you look at objects close to your face, but things in the distance are clear. There are degrees of farsightedness, and not everyone with hyperopia requires glasses or contacts. These degrees are measured in “diopters,” and most FDA-approved LASIK lasers can treat farsightedness up to +6.00 diopters.
Nearsightedness, or myopia, is the opposite of farsightedness. Objects in the distance are blurry, while those close to your face are clear. Severe myopia may not qualify for LASIK because the degree of correction needed may cause postoperative complications. LASIK can treat nearsightedness up to -11.0 diopters in some cases, but this varies per patient and eye surgeon.
Vision Problems LASIK Can’t Correct
Another standard refractive error is presbyopia, the age-related loss of near vision. Reading glasses work well for most people with presbyopia, but vision correction procedures are available for the condition. LASIK cannot treat presbyopia because the issue is caused by the natural hardening of the eye’s lens due to age, so reshaping the cornea would not fix this vision problem.
LASIK can’t improve vision loss from eye diseases, including macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma. These conditions may — and often do — lead to blindness and need timely diagnosis and treatment to preserve your eyesight. Other issues may rule out LASIK as an option, such as thin corneas and certain medical conditions, including autoimmune disorders.
Is LASIK Right for You?
Contact our ophthalmologists at Mack Eye Center today to schedule your eye exam and learn more about LASIK and your vision correction options.