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LASIK and Depth Perception: What Patients Should Know

By David Gross on June 29, 2017


A woman's eye up closeThe team at our Merrillville eye care center has helped countless people see clearly through the use of advanced vision correction treatments. In many cases, this means custom LASIK surgery, the safest and most effective version of the procedure yet.

A number of patients have asked us if LASIK is able to effectively improve depth perception. Let's take a moment to explore this issue.

About Depth Perception

Depth perception refers to the ability for a person to perceive their surrounding in three dimensions. Depth perception allows people to differentiate between objects that are nearby, objects in the distance, and various objects that re in the middle. Depth perception can affect a person's perception of perspective, texture, color, and so forth.

To perceive the world in three dimensions, it's imperative that both of your eyes work together. The images seen at slightly different angles by both eyes are processed by your brain in order to provide a three-dimensional view of your surroundings. This process of binocular vision is known as stereopsis.

Causes of Poor Depth Perception

There are many potential causes of poor depth perception. Some of the most common causes of poor depth perception include the following:

  • Strabismus
  • Amblyopia
  • Cataracts
  • Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
  • Bad vision in one eye or both eyes

How LASIK Surgery Improves Vision

In basic terms, LASIK works by improving the shape of the cornea, which is the clear frontal portion of the eye. By altering the shape of the cornea, light passes through the eyes at a better angle and focuses on the retinas. LASIK is an ideal surgery to treat refractive errors, which many people know better by the following terms:

  • Myopia (Nearsightedness)
  • Hyperopia (Farsightedness)
  • Astigmatism

After undergoing LASIK, patients are able to see clearly without the aid of prescription glasses and contact lenses.

Can LASIK Improve My Depth Perception?

Yes.

Studies have found that LASIK can improve depth perception in certain patients. A 2016 study found that PRK (a refractive surgery that is similar to LASIK) was able to improve depth perception among a number of patients, especially those that suffered from severe myopia. Since PRK and LASIK are so similar, it stands to reason that LASIK can similarly improve depth perception among certain patients.

Can LASIK Lead to Poor Depth Perception?

In general, the answer is no, but there may be very rare cases in which a severe LASIK complication results in some degree of vision loss that impacts a patient's depth perception. Thanks to state-of-the-art technology and advanced surgical techniques, these kinds of severe complications are a rarity.

Patients who undergo monovision LASIK to treat presbyopia may experience some changes in depth perception. This type of LASIK involves the correction of one eye for near vision and another eye for distance vision. Because of the difference in correction of they eyes, they may not work in concert together as well, leading to changes in depth perception.

Other Eye Care Options to Treat Depth Perception

When it comes to addressing depth perception issues, there are plenty of options available for patients to consider. Typically it's best to treat the underlying cause of the depth perception issue, which is best done at an early age if depth perception problems are present from childhood. During the consultation process, we can discuss these matters in greater detail.

Learn More About LASIK Surgery

If you would like to learn more about LASIK surgery and whether or not it's an ideal option for you and your needs, be sure to contact an experienced eye care specialist today. We will be more than happy to discuss all vision correction options that may be of benefit to you.

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