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Will PRK surgery correct both nearsightedness and farsightedness?

QUESTION:

I had lasik surgery 3 weeks ago and was told I was both nearsighted and farsighted. If PRK was performed, would that correct both nearsightedness and farsightedness as well as my astigmatism?

 ANSWER:

It is impossible to be both nearsighted and farsighted in the same eye.  It is like a number being both positive and negative at once.  More likely, you were nearsighted with presbyopia.  Many people confuse presbyopia with farsightedness.  Presbyopia is the aging of the lens inside the eye which happens to all people in their 40’s, and it causes a need for reading glasses.  If you were nearsighted with presbyopia, and you had PRK, you would have had two options with surgery.  One would be a full correction of your nearsightedness in both eyes, to give you excellent distance vision.  You would remain presbyopic, and would need glasses for close work.  The second option would be monovision, where the nearsightedness is fully corrected in one eye (usually the dominant eye), and partially corrected the the other eye.  Leaving one eye slightly nearsighted helps “get around” the problem of presbyopia, and allows you to see near better without using glasses.  Most people adapt very well to monovision and don’t notice any tradeoffs.  Some notice minor tradeoffs but decide that it is well worth it to avoid the need for reading glasses.  Astigmatism is treated either way, with the goal of complete elimination whether you do monovision or a full distance correction.  Hopefully your surgeon explained all this to you prior to surgery and allowed you to make a fully informed decision.

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