You can't prevent farsightedness, but you certainly can treat it. There are three options: glasses, contact lenses, and laser surgery.
Glasses can correct almost any type of vision problem. They're particularly useful for people with poor vision at both long range and very close range, because they can use "bifocal" lenses. Looking through the upper lens gives you long-range vision, while looking through the lower one gives you close-range vision.
Contact lenses can also correct these problems. Lenses with high correction factors (i.e., those made to correct very poor vision) are likely to be thicker and heavier than lenses that correct less severe cases of hyperopia, and some people find them uncomfortable. This is particularly true of lenses that correct for astigmatism. There are also bifocal contact lenses, but some people find them difficult to use. Soft lenses have generally taken the place of hard and gas-permeable versions, as they're more comfortable and easier to adjust to, though they may be harder to clean. Wearing lenses makes you somewhat more prone to eye infection – this risk can be minimized by cleaning them according to instructions, throwing away disposables on time, and never sleeping with the lenses in.
Laser eye surgery can correct common vision problems such as nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism (where an irregular shape of the cornea [the front surface of the eye] makes it difficult for the eye to focus). It is now also being used to help with presbyopia – the inability to focus on objects that are nearby, which is a normal part of aging and usually corrected with reading glasses.
Canadians can now choose between 4 types of laser eye surgery to correct their vision:
- Photo-refractive keratectomy (PRK) involves using a laser to burn away small amounts of tissue under the surface of the cornea in order to change the shape of the cornea (the front surface of the eye). This change in shape helps you to see better.
- Laser assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) involves making a small incision (cut) through the surface of the cornea (creating a "flap") so that the surgeons can reach tissues below it. Small amounts of tissue are removed using a laser to burn away the tissue. The flap is placed back over the cornea, and the cornea heals readily afterwards.
- Laser Epithelial Keratomileusis (LASEK) is a variation of PRK and LASIK that involves making cuts to the outer layer of the cornea so that a laser can burn away small amounts of tissue under the surface of the cornea.
- Epi-LASIK is modified version of LASEK that uses a mechanical device to remove the outer layer of the cornea.
Newer refinements of these procedures are constantly under development. One example is "wavefront" or "custom" LASIK, in which a computer maps the visual problems needing correction, increasing the accuracy of the result.
These techniques are about equally effective in improving sight. Infection of the area that was operated on may occur day or two after the operation, but antibiotics are usually given to prevent infection. Otherwise, if infection does occur, it's usually easily treated with antibiotics. The operations themselves are quick (less than several minutes per eye) and painless, though the eye will sting for a few days afterwards.
Laser surgery can only be performed on uninfected healthy eyes. These surgeries are not suitable for children and teenagers because their vision is still changing.
Eye operations don't always produce the desired results. Study results vary, but the majority of farsighted people who have laser surgery for hyperopia end up with improved vision. It is important to be aware, however, some people do not notice any improvement in their vision and a few end up with poorer vision.
Laser surgery can reduce the quality of your best-corrected vision (the absolute best you could see with the right lenses). It can also reduce night vision. In addition, having the operation doesn't mean the eye is permanently "fixed" – it can change again. Sometimes, it heals from surgery into much the same shape it had before, producing only temporary improvement. Because eye doctors like to err on the side of caution, they may "undercorrect" vision, and you may need follow-up procedures. You should discuss these potential complications thoroughly with your eye doctor before opting for laser surgery.
Finally, although laser surgery has been around for over 15 years, we still don't know the long-term consequences. Most people are still seeing well 10 years after surgery, but we don't know how they'll be seeing 30 years from now. While there's no reason to believe they'll have problems, we can't be absolutely sure. It is important to thoroughly discuss potential complications with an eye doctor before opting for laser surgery.
All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2017. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/condition/getcondition/Farsightedness