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What is Farsightedness?
Farsightedness is a common vision problem that makes it difficult to see objects up close. It's also known as hyperopia or farsightedness. Around 5 to 10% of people in the United States have the condition.1
People with farsightedness typically have no problems seeing things in the distance, but they may have trouble reading or doing other close-up work. They may then squint their eyes as they try to see clearly. 2
Hyperopia occurs because the eyeball is too short from front to back, or there's a problem with the lens or cornea. As a result, the light that enters the eye doesn't focus correctly, and close objects look blurry. This is known as a refractive error.
Farsightedness is often present at birth. However, it can develop later in life as the eye's lens becomes less flexible with age. It typically affects people in their 40s and older. This age-related vision change is also known as presbyopia.3
Can You Get LASIK for Farsightedness?
Yes, many people can have LASIK for farsightedness, but not everyone is a suitable candidate.
As with any surgery, there are potential risks and complications associated with LASIK. These include:
- Dry eyes
- Glare, halos, and double vision
- Poor night vision
- Excess tears
- Abnormal corneal tissue growth
- Vision loss or changes
- Under corrections due to removing too little tissue
- Over corrections because of removing too much tissue
- Astigmatism due to uneven tissue removal
The main advantage of LASIK for farsightedness is that it can reduce or eliminate your dependence on corrective lenses or glasses.
However, it doesn't always correct farsightedness perfectly. As a result, you may still need to wear glasses or contact lenses for some activities, such as driving at night.
Questions about LASIK? Call NVISION to speak with an experienced Patient Counselor who can answer all your questions and set up a free consultation. No commitment required.
How Effective is LASIK for Farsightedness?
According to the Refractive Surgery Council, 96% of people who have LASIK are satisfied with their results.4
Over the past two decades, there have been significant improvements in the safety, accuracy, and effectiveness of LASIK treatment. Research shows that after the procedure, nearly everyone experiences restored vision, and many people have better vision than the standard 20/20.5
Although it's often effective, certain people shouldn't get LASIK. This applies if you:6
- Are in your early 20s or younger
- Are pregnant or breastfeeding
- Have had a change in vision prescription in the past year
- Have fluctuating hormones due to diseases like diabetes
- Take certain medications
- Have health conditions, such as autoimmune diseases
- Actively participate in contact sports
LASIK Procedure and Aftercare: What to Expect
Find an experienced surgeon who can answer your questions if you’re considering LASIK. The exact procedure may vary from one person to another, but here are some general guidelines on what to expect.
Before the surgery, your surgeon will ask you to switch to wearing glasses if you wear contact lenses. Because contact lenses change the cornea's shape, they could affect your LASIK results.
For soft contact lenses, stop wearing them for 2 weeks before your initial evaluation. This increases to 3 weeks for toric soft lenses or rigid gas permeable lenses and 4 weeks for hard lenses.7
For the day of your procedure, arrange for transport to take you home, as you'll be unable to drive. Also, don't wear makeup or apply lotions or creams, as your face and eyes should be clean and free from contaminants.
LASIK surgery generally takes less than 30 minutes, but first you’ll receive a thorough eye evaluation. This allows the surgeon to take comprehensive measurements of your eye and cornea.
During the procedure, the surgeon will:
- Administer medication to help you relax
- Place numbing drops into your eyes once you lie in a reclining chair
- Use an instrument to hold your eyelids open once the eye drops take effect
- Use a soft corneal suction ring to hold the eye in position
- Cut a small, hinged flap in the cornea by using a laser or microkeratome (surgical blade)
- Remove specific amounts of tissue and remodel the cornea with a laser
- Reposition the flap back over the cornea, where it should stay in place naturally (there’s no need for stitches)
Afterwards, you may feel itching, burning, or discomfort in your eyes. Do not rub or scratch them, as this can cause damage and disturb the corneal flap.
You'll need to use dark glasses to protect your eyes and rest in a darkened room. You may also need to use protective goggles while you sleep.
Additionally, your doctor may prescribe antibiotic and anti-inflammatory eye drops to prevent infection. Use preservative-free artificial tears, as prescribed by your doctor, to prevent dry eyes.
In the following days, you may experience light sensitivity and glare. Your eyes may also become bloodshot. However, these issues should disappear quickly.
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LASIK for Age-Related Farsightedness (Presbyopia)
Because presbyopia results from changes to the eye's lens, traditional LASIK cannot help. But there's another option.
Monovision, or blended vision, is a technique that corrects your dominant eye for distance vision. The other eye is intentionally left nearsighted to allow you to see close objects. Both eyes work together, allowing for clear sight at any distance.
Although monovision works for many people, some cannot adapt. Therefore, eye doctors typically recommend trying monovision with contact lenses before committing to surgery.8
How Much Does LASIK Cost?
In the United States, LASIK surgery costs approximately $2,200 per eye. However, the cost may vary depending on your specific vision issues and location.
Health insurance plans don't typically cover LASIK because they don't consider it medically necessary. However, some vision insurance policies offer relevant benefits, such as discounts on laser vision correction procedures with specific providers.
Alternative Treatment Options
If you're not a good candidate for LASIK, there are other treatment options, including:
If you have very flat or thin corneas, LASEK may be an option. Instead of a blade or laser, it uses an alcohol solution to soften the outer cornea layer. It can then be peeled back, and a laser reshapes the inner corneal tissue.
Another option for thin corneas involves using a plastic blade to lift and separate the epithelium from the inner cornea before a laser reshapes the inner tissue. A protective contact lens is inserted into the eye to aid recovery.
Phakic intraocular lens implants
If someone has advanced hyperopia, phakic IOL implants are an effective alternative to LASIK. It involves implanting an artificial lens into the eye between the iris and cornea (or behind the iris) to improve the eye’s focusing power.
Refractive lens exchange surgery
This procedure involves removing the eye's natural lens with a laser, then replacing it with an artificial lens. It's an option for extreme hyperopia.
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