Numerous vision conditions can reduce quality of life for countless individuals. From astigmatism to diabetic retinopathy to keratoconus, eye health issues affect millions, many times going unnoticed until it is too late. Providence Eye & Laser Specialists discusses a few vision health issues, and reviews how LASIK eye surgery or other eye care treatments can help patients regain and maintain quality vision.


A very common eye condition, astigmatism occurs when someone’s cornea is irregularly shaped, not allowing the retina to properly focus on light. Many people with astigmatism believe LASIK eye surgery is not a possibility for them. This is not true. If a LASIK specialist has invested in recent technology, then having astigmatism does NOT make you a non-candidate. Patients who desire to reduce their dependence on and possibly get rid of their eyeglasses or contacts should visit a reputable LASIK specialist to determine whether or not their eyes are suitable for LASIK eye surgery. During a LASIK consultation, you should expect the following at a minimum: a scan of your cornea, checking of your peripheral vision, pupil reaction, eye dominance, tear production, your entire health history (not just your eyes) and you should meet your surgeon on this day as well.

Reading Vision Correction

As we age, our internal eye lenses gradually get harder, losing the ability to change shape automatically and focus up close. Typically noticeable by 45, presbyopia (farsightedness or loss of close-up vision) is often correctable via LASIK eye surgery or other, non-surgical methods. Monovision LASIK can reshape the cornea so light once again bends correctly, allowing proper retinal focusing. For those not suitable for LASIK eye surgery, numerous solutions treat presbyopia, including:

  • Bifocal glasses
  • Multifocal glasses
  • Monovision contacts
  • Reading glasses

Distance Vision Correction

Many people are myopic, meaning that they can’t see far away. This can happen at many stages of life, and in many cases, it is inherited. The good thing about myopia is that it is easy to fix. When someone is myopic, it means the surface of the cornea (the front of the eye) is too steep and light gets focused slightly in front of the retina. LASIK eye surgery is the process of reshaping the cornea to correct distance vision issues. Afterward, the eye can correctly bend light again, restoring clear vision. Patients deemed good LASIK candidates should look carefully at their surgeon’s experience, level of patient care and technology. If your surgeon thinks you are a good candidate, then your surgeon can also recommend all-laser blade free LASIK or all-laser blade-free PRK. In cases where individuals are not suitable candidates, they can be treated with a prescription for contacts and/or glasses to correct their distance vision.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is a common condition that diabetic patients must monitor carefully. Untreated diabetic retinopathy can lead to blindness and therefore should be closely monitored. Many times affecting both eyes, diabetic retinopathy is present in roughly 40% of Type I diabetes cases and 20% of Type II cases. Other than keeping blood sugar levels as close to homeostasis as possible, diabetics need to visit their eye care specialist regularly to keep check on their visual status. When caught in its early stages, diabetic retinopathy is much easier to manage and treat. A comprehensive eye exam can unearth diabetic retinopathy while quality diabetic eye care can maximize retinal health. Diabetic retinopathy does not automatically make you a non-candidate for LASIK. Diabetic patients should be carefully evaluated by a qualified LASIK specialist to determine if they are a candidate. Your diabetic history should be an integral part of that evaluation process and discussion about the best solution for vision correction.


Keratoconus is a condition in which the cornea becomes abnormally thin, bulges like a cone and becomes distorted. This causes significant visual distortion. In the early stages of keratoconus, patients typically can be fitted with contacts that will give them acceptable vision. However, if the keratoconus does not stabilize and continues to worsen, a corneal transplant is ultimately required. Keratoconus patients are NOT LASIK candidates. LASIK can actually accelerate keratoconus.

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