LASIK and 20/20 Vision: Why Perfect Isn’t Always Perfect

LASIK and 20/20 Vision - Pomona, NY

Apr 6, 2017 @ 09:00 AM — by Richard Gordon
Tagged with: Lasik | Eye Care |

A woman smiling next to a Snellen eye chartThere was a time in its early history when the chief selling point of LASIK was that it had the potential to restore a person’s unaided vision to 20/20 or better. This claim was so widely repeated that many people came to believe that LASIK could give them “perfect” vision. After all, wasn’t 20/20 vision perfect by definition? And if LASIK could potentially deliver better than perfect 20/20 vision, then it must be a modern-day miracle.

Truly, LASIK could produce 20/20 or better vision, even in its early days. However, what many people didn’t understand then, and continue not to understand now, is that 20/20 or better vision isn’t necessarily perfect. While a person who achieves such vision might see fairly clearly - certainly clearly enough to drive, watch television, and perform everyday tasks without glasses or contact lenses - his or her vision may still not be as sharp or as vivid as he or she might like. This is why many people who achieved excellent results through LASIK 15 or 20 years ago were still mildly disappointed by their results. They were good, but they weren’t perfect.

A lot has changed since then. Perfection in vision is still hard to come by, but the results that can be achieved through LASIK far surpass those that could be achieved then. This is because we now have the capability to identify, measure, and accurately correct tiny imperfections in the cornea called higher order aberrations, a concept that Dr. Richard Gordon explains in detail when discussing LASIK and 20/20 vision during consultations at his Pomona, NY practice.

Are you a good candidate for LASIK? To find out, schedule your initial consultation with Dr. Gordon at Palisades Laser Eye Center today.

Measuring Visual Acuity

Remember when the first cell phones with cameras came out? Most people were so thrilled to have that capability on their phones that they didn’t really scrutinize the quality of the photos they took. The pictures were clear enough, anyway - you could see all the important details and colors just fine.

Now even the middle-of-the-pack smartphones take photos of such exquisite quality that you make out even the finest details with absolute clarity. If you were to compare a picture you took last week with your latest phone to a picture you took ten years ago with your then-current phone, the difference would seem profound, surely. They would both be “clear” photos, but only the more recent one would also be absolutely precise, sharp, and vivid.

That, in a nutshell, is the difference between vision that is corrected to 20/20 through traditional means - such as glasses, contact lenses, and conventional LASIK - and vision that is restored to its optimal state through the correction of higher-order aberrations.

These higher-order aberrations could not be corrected when LASIK was first introduced onto the U.S. market - indeed, they couldn’t even be measured. This only became possible with the development of wavefront mapping, a method of tracking even the smallest imperfections in the shape of the cornea.

Now, with a wavefront map guiding the excimer laser used in LASIK, patients have the chance to emerge from surgery with their vision not only corrected to 20/20, but also fine-tuned to a degree that has only become possible within the past 15 years or so.

Learn More about LASIK and 20/20 Vision

To learn more about LASIK and 20/20 vision, please contact Palisades Laser Eye Center today.