LASIK for Farsightedness (Hyperopia)

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What is LASIK Eye Surgery?

LASIK, which stands for laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, is a type of laser refractive eye surgery used to correct vision errors. It works by changing the shape of the cornea to improve vision. Most people no longer need to wear glasses or contact lenses after LASIK surgery.

Vision problems occur because a person’s corneas don’t bend (refract) light precisely onto the retina the way they should. LASIK eye surgery corrects the shape of the cornea so light bends properly.

What is Farsightedness (Hyperopia)? How Common is it? 

Farsightedness, medically known as hyperopia, is a common vision issue. It causes someone to see objects close to them blurred but objects in the distance are seen clearly.

Almost everyone is born farsighted. Within the first year, vision improves for most people and only a small percentage of children remain farsighted after turning one. 

After 40, many adults gradually develop presbyopia, making it more and more difficult to see up close. This is part of the natural aging process. It is sometimes described as hyperopia or farsightedness, but it’s age-related and different from traditional farsightedness.

People with farsightedness have a shorter than average eyeball or cornea. It’s also too flat, so light focuses behind the retina instead of on it. This results in blurred close-up vision and can also affect far-away vision for some people.

You might be farsighted if you:

  • Hold objects further from your eyes to see them clearly
  • Experience burning in your eyes with no other explanation
  • Feel as if you are straining to see objects up close
  • Develop headaches as the day wears on
  • Have general eye discomfort

Being farsighted doesn’t cause pain, but it can be uncomfortable and cause secondary issues.

Can LASIK Fix Farsightedness (Hyperopia)?

Yes, LASIK eye surgery is effective for fixing farsightedness.

It’s one of three ways to improve vision when you have trouble seeing up close. The other options are wearing contact lenses or glasses.

People with farsightedness or problems with distance vision have corneas shorter and flatter than the average cornea. LASIK allows a doctor to cut into the cornea and use an excimer laser to remove layers from the center and change its shape.

How Does the LASIK for Farsightedness Procedure Work?

LASIK is performed by a specially trained eye surgeon. They cut a thin flap into the cornea using a microkeratome. Or, the surgeon may perform this step with a femtosecond laser.

Once they have access to the center of the cornea, they use a laser to reshape the corneal tissue by excising tissue. They do this until the cornea is correctly shaped to allow for proper light refraction and vision is improved. 

Before the eye surgery begins, your eye surgeon designs a pattern for the laser to follow so the procedure is as accurate and error-free as possible.

Once the cornea is reshaped, the flap of tissue is repositioned. There is no need for stitches.

Do You Qualify for LASIK for Farsightedness?

Not everyone is a good candidate for LASIK for treating farsightedness. Overall health, vision stability, and eye health all affect the success of LASIK.

People with the following health conditions aren’t considered good LASIK patients:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Other autoimmune conditions
  • HIV
  • Weakened immunity
  • Diabetes

Eye health issues that may affect someone’s ability to undergo LASIK include:

  • Persistent dry eyes/dry eye syndrome
  • Glaucoma
  • Cataracts
  • Inflammation of the corneas
  • Uveitis
  • Eye injuries
  • Unstable vision

Because hormones affect vision stability, LASIK might not be right for pregnant or breastfeeding women, or anyone with hormonal imbalance. 

LASIK is not recommended for people under 18 years old.

How Well Does LASIK Work for Hyperopia?

LASIK has a very high success rate for treating hyperopia and other vision issues. The benefits of LASIK include:

  • No need for bandages or stitches after the procedure
  • Improved vision within 24 hours
  • Minimal pain
  • Adjustments are possible for people who do not get the desired result
  • Dramatic reduction in the need to wear contact lenses or glasses even for those with severely impeded vision

Like all surgical procedures, there are risks associated with LASIK. The cons of the procedure include:

  • Short-term discomfort
  • Vision loss
  • Severe dry eye syndrome
  • Need for follow-up procedures to further improve vision
  • Need to wear reading glasses despite improved vision

Statistics show LASIK surgery is at least 96 percent effective and might be as much as 98 percent effective. Up to 50 percent of the patients end up with better vision than the standard 20/20.1

How Much Does LASIK for Farsightedness Cost?

LASIK is an elective surgical procedure. As such, it is rarely covered by insurance. The cost of the procedure ranges from $1,500 to $3,000 per eye based on the severity of the patient’s vision issues and where they have the surgery performed.

Some vision clinics that perform LASIK surgery offer payment plans or accept financing designed to help with medical procedure financing. In addition, some insurance companies may offer a discount towards LASIK.

Alternative Ways to Treat Farsightedness

LASIK is a safe and effective option for treating farsightedness. However, it’s not the only option for dealing with distant blurry vision.

The most common treatment for treating hyperopia is wearing corrective lenses. This includes eyeglasses and/or contact lenses. 

Prescription lenses refract light differently than your natural eye shape is capable of doing. Your vision is not actually corrected, but you’re able to see better when looking through the lenses. 

Additionally, eating a nutritious diet and getting enough rest are recommended for helping vision. Even if you cannot improve farsightedness with these efforts, you can reduce the deterioration of your vision over time with good health.

Resources
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(1) “LASIK Complication Rate: The Latest Facts and Stats You Should Know.” American Refractive Surgery Council, 30 Oct. 2017.

(2) “Eye Exercises for Farsightedness.” Rebuild Your Vision, 9 Apr. 2021.

(3) Frings, Andreas, et al. “LASIK and PRK in Hyperopic Astigmatic Eyes: Is Early Retreatment Advisable?” Clinical Ophthalmology (Auckland, N.Z.), vol. 10, 2016, pp. 565–570, 10.2147/OPTH.S99098.

(4) “Farsightedness - Symptoms and Causes.” Mayo Clinic, 2018.

(5) “Farsightedness: MedlinePlus Genetics.” Medlineplus.gov.

(6) “Farsightedness (Hyperopia).” Harvard Health, 19 June 2019.

(7) “LASIK Surgery: Is It Right for You?” Mayo Clinic, 2019.

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