Farsightedness, or hyperopia, is the condition in which a person is able to see clearly in the distance but not up close. This can hinder everyday activities such as reading or looking at a computer screen, requiring the use of corrective lenses in order to bring the world into focus. But are glasses or contact lenses really the most optimal solution? At our Chicago eye care center, we want to help our patients gain the clearest natural vision possible. For the right candidates, LASIK surgery can provide an excellent way to reverse the effects of farsightedness, restoring clarity to one’s natural vision.
How Is Farsightedness Treated?
Like nearsightedness, astigmatism, and similarly common vision problems, farsightedness is often corrected through glasses or contact lenses. However, this does not correct the condition itself, and many patients encounter additional problems when they rely on corrective lenses.
Farsightedness is typically caused by light focusing behind the eye’s retina as opposed to directly on it. This inaccurate focusing of light results in a blurred image at certain focal points, namely objects that are close to the eye. By altering the shape of the eye’s outer corneal layer, LASIK is able to compensate for this natural discrepancy, resulting in an image that is uniformly clearer.
Farsightedness vs. Presbyopia
In general, when optometrists refer to farsightedness or hyperopia, they are talking about the problem noted above: the inability for the eye to properly focus light on the retina. Therefore, most cases of farsightedness can be adequately corrected through LASIK. However, a similar vision problem, presbyopia, also results in the eye’s inability to focus on close-up images. With presbyopia, the eye’s lens becomes less elastic over time, making it difficult to focus on such objects. This is often seen in patients who are middle-aged or older, and it tends to continue to worsen with age. Although the symptoms are similar to hyperopia, the causes and possible treatment options are not.
A new and innovative LASIK procedure is recently being tested for presbyopia, but it has yet to be approved by the FDA and is therefore currently unavailable. As a result, patients who undergo regular LASIK surgery should not expect their presbyopia to also be treated. In many instance, patients opt to have their regular vision restored while still relying on reading glasses for certain occasions.
If you have difficulty focusing on nearby objects, make sure your condition is comprehensively examined and diagnosed by an optometrist before you consider your treatment options.
Treating Farsightedness with LASIK
People who suffer from farsightedness most likely have eyes that are abnormally short, resulting in light that extends past the retina. Although LASIK surgery cannot alter the eye’s size or shape, it can resurface the contours along the cornea. This helps refract light in a more favorable way as it first enters the eye, refocusing it correctly toward the retina.
Patients who are recommended for LASIK surgery benefit from a quick and safe procedure that utilizes the following steps:
First, anesthetic eye drops will be applied to reduce discomfort during surgery. A thin flap of tissue will be created at the eye’s surface, which will be temporarily pulled back to allow access to the cornea. An ultraviolet laser will be used to contour the corneal tissue. For farsightedness, patients will have a steeper curve made. The corneal flap will be gently lowered back into place for healing.
The LASIK process does not normally take longer than 10 minutes per eye, and patients feel little to no discomfort throughout surgery. During recovery, patients should expect some irritation as the eyes heal, and should follow their doctor’s instructions to prevent infection. After the first few days, side effects should largely be improved, and patients can begin to truly benefit from their enhanced natural vision.
Visit Us to Learn More
An initial consultation and exam is necessary to provide you with the most appropriate and effective treatment. If LASIK is indeed right for you, our doctors will provide you with additional information on the necessary steps to take. Schedule your appointment with us to learn more about your treatment options.