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Saturday, May 07, 2011 

Hyperopia Double Whammy

Earlier this week, I performed LASIK on a friend in his late forties. This man had a +2.00 distance correction. That is, he was moderately farsighted, or hyperopic, in both eyes. Before surgery, he was having trouble biking, seeing road signs, and reading small print. When he returned the day after surgery he was 20/20 in both eyes, and reading the newspaper without his glasses. He was thrilled! He had not been able to see clearly for either distance or near for many years. I call this the “double whammy” of performing LASIK for farsightedness in people over 42. Their distance vision becomes excellent. Their reading vision also improves. Sometimes they end up in a “sweet spot” with good distance vision and good reading vision. I tell farsighted patients that their distance vision will be superb, and their reading vision will improve about 30%. I tell them they will, at some point, need reading glasses for fine print. They will probably need to make a trip to the drugstore to get over-the-counter magnifying glasses. My friend was probably a little disappointed when I told him his good reading vision may not last permanently. With age, and possible regression of the laser correction, he might need reading glasses in the next few years. I am sure he will enjoy good reading vision while it lasts, but he won’t be too surprised if he needs the help of magnifying glasses down the road. With nearsighted people, distance vision is also superb after LASIK. But, in people over 42, reading vision may be worse. In nearsightedness, or myopia, there is a “yin and yang” between distance and near. Most people prefer good distance vision over good reading vision. But, it is important that they be forewarned. We spend a good deal of “chair time” discussing presbyopia, the need for reading glasses, with our LASIK patients.

It is sometimes said that farsighted people are easier to please with LASIK. It is this double whammy of improved distance and reading vision that is responsible for their satisfaction.

About me

  • I'm LASIKblog
  • From La Jolla, California, United States
  • Mitchell Friedlaender, M.D., is Head of the Division of Ophthalmology, and Director of the Laser Vision Center at Scripps Clinic, in La Jolla, CA, and Adjunct Professor at The Scripps Research Institute. He is a cum laude graduate of the University of Michigan Medical School, and received his ophthalmology training at Harvard University, and the University of California, San Francisco. He was a full time faculty member at the University of California, San Francisco before joining Scripps Clinic in 1986. He is the author of 6 books and over 250 scientific articles. He has lectured at universities throughout the world on conditions such as blepharitis, allergy, dry eye, and infection. He is the recipient of the Senior Honor Award of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, and a member of the American Ophthalmological Society, an honor society composed of 300 leaders in ophthalmology. He has been listed every year, since 1986, in The Best Doctors in America.
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