Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Can A LASIK Surgeon Fix Legal Blindness?

Question: I have terrible eyesight and an astigmatism. I am pretty sure I am legally blind in my right eye which also has the astigmatism. Is it possible to fix my eyes or at least make them better with laser eye surgery?

Answer: Laser Eye Surgery such as LASIK is an appropriate type of vision correction for patients who are nearsighted, farsighted who may or may not also have astigmatism provided that their eyes are healthy and that they have realistic expectations. The term “legal blindness” describes a level of visual acuity of no better than 20/200 WITH BEST POSSIBLE CORRECTION. If in fact you are legally blind-that your vision is not correctable to better than 20/200- it is important to determine the reason for the reduced vision as this will help your LASIK Surgeon determine whether LASIK or any type of Laser Eye Surgery can be performed and with what potential level of improvement in vision. Many people get confused when their eye doctor tells them that they are “legally blind” without glasses. This is NOT legal blindness-it just means that they have poor eyesight as a result of a high degree of refractive error and need a strong eyeglass or contact lens prescription to see well. Laser Eye Surgery such as LASIK and PRK can be appropriate for patients with moderate to high myopia (nearsightedness) and astigmatism if the patients eyes are healthy and their corneas have enough thickness. Laser Eye Surgery such as LASIK and PRK may be appropriate for patients with low to moderate hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism. Both high myopia and significant hyperopia may also be corrected using lens implants which might be more appropriate. Phakic Lens Implants such as the Visian ICL™ offer extreme nearsighted patients an option and astigmatism correcting toric lens implants can often be used to correct both astigmatism and hyperopia for patients. All this information is meaningless unless your eyes are healthy and free of disease. Your next step is to schedule a consultation with an eye doctor who is both a top LASIK and Cataract Surgeon. Given that you feel your eyes are as bad as they are you should find the best LASIK Surgeon and the best Cataract Surgeon in your area and have your examination to see what is possible in your specific situation.

Important Note: The information presented on the See With LASIK Blog or provided in response to a request for information in the Ask LASIK Surgeons section on is not intended to diagnose or treat eye problems, eye conditions or eye diseases including appropriateness of treatment, risks, complications or side effects as related to LASIK. In particular a response to an inquiry made on the Ask LASIK Surgeons section of is not meant to take the place of the professional medical care provided by your eye doctor, ophthalmologist and LASIK surgeon. Contacting us via e-mail or any other means is not a substitute for medical care.

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