LASIK is a type of eye surgery that can eliminate the need for glasses and contact lenses. Specifically, there are three conditions that LASIK surgery can treat: Myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism (blurred vision). We’ll talk through each here.

Humans are able to see because the front part of the eye bends (or “refracts”) light and focuses it directly to the back of the eye (called the retina).

The process is similar to how a film camera lens focuses light and uses it to create an image on film.

Myopia (nearsightedness)

Myopia is the inability to see distant objects as clearly as close-up objects.

If the cornea and lens have too much focusing power, or your eye is longer than usual, light rays cannot focus on the retina. Instead, they focus in front of it.

This refractive error causes you to have difficulty seeing objects in the distance.

What people with myopia see

Hyperopia (farsightedness)

Hyperopia is the inability to see close-up objects as clearly as distant objects.

If the cornea and lens don’t have enough focusing power, or your eye is shorter than usual, light rays cannot focus on the retina. Instead, they focus behind it.

This refractive error causes difficulty in seeing objects close to you.

What people with hyperopia see

Astigmatism (blurred vision)

The inability to see fine details, either close up or from far away. It’s not uncommon to have combinations of myopia or hyperopia with astigmatism. Astigmatism occurs when one side of the cornea is steeper than the other, causing an uneven curve. This causes light rays to focus on several points on the retina at once, creating blurred vision of both near and far images.

Effects of astigmatism


Presbyopia usually begins around age 40. It is often referred to as “aging eye” because the lens begins to lose elasticity and harden, affecting the ability of the eye to adjust the focus point from far to near. When corrected for distance, close objects appear blurry. Note that unlike the three refractive errors above, presbyopia cannot be corrected with LASIK; is usually corrected with reading glasses or bifocals. However, there are some options for older patients where the need for reading glasses can be greatly reduced. For more details, see our Is Lasik Right for Me page.

Correcting Refractive Errors

These conditions are are all known as “refractive errors” because they are all caused when light entering the eye is focused incorrectly, so that light does not focus precisely on the retina due to imperfections in the shape of the cornea or the eye.

Eye correction has been with us for centuries. In the 13th century, the first record of eyeglasses being used to correct vision problems and restore 20/20 vision came in Italy. In the 19th and 20th centuries, contact lenses were invented.

In the 20th and 21st centuries, advances in medicine, science, and technology converged to the point where precise and controlled lasers are used to literally reshape the cornea, allowing the eye to once again refract light properly. LASIK can be used to treat myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. Click here to read how LASIK works.

As you consider laser eye surgery, you may find that there are a huge number of different variations of the surgery, with names such as LASIK, LASEK, Epi-LASIK, Photo-Refractive Keratectomy (PRK), Photo-Therapeutic Keratectomy (PTK), and many others. Most patients will quality for the latest and most advanced type of LASIK called 100% Blade-Free LASIK.

The surgeons at Wills Laser Vision have extensive experience in the whole range of refractive procedures and will recommend the best for you and your overall eye health given your individual needs and medical history. They can help you understand if you are a good candidate for LASIK and talk you through any questions you have about the LASIK procedure.

When choosing where to have laser eye surgery in New Jersey, be sure to select a LASIK center that uses the latest equipment and technology and whose eye surgeons have had years of experience performing successful LASIK eye surgery.


Additional reading

How does LASIK work?

How is LASIK done?

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