LASIK & Night Vision

Government-Sponsored Study investigates the affect of LASIK on night vision performance¹

by Craig Bindi, MD

The Problem:

One of the most common complaints of the older generations of the LASIK procedure was having problems with night vision. With first generation LASIK techniques, patients would frequently obtain “20/20 visual acuity”, but would complain about seeing halos, glare, or star bursting of lights at night. These problems were especially common in patients that were treated for large amounts of nearsightedness. Fortunately, modern technology has  evolved to address this issue.

Finding the Solution:

By integrating technological innovations (such as Wavefront LASIK Technology, eye-movement
tracking lasers and All-Laser femtosecond lasers), modern LASIK techniques have greatly helped to solve this problem. Recent studies have shown that modern All-Laser Wavefront IntraLASIK is ten-times more likely to improve night vision, rather than make it worse1.

Published Results: In April 2009, the U.S. Navy’s Department of Refractive Surgery published a landmark study that evaluated night vision results of “microkeratome blade-based standard LASIK”
compared to newer All-Laser Wavefront IntraLASIK to address the question, “For Navy pilots, is modern LASIK technology truly better, or just new and different?” It was concluded that Wavefront IntraLASIK significantly improved night driving performance and outperformed microkeratome-based standard LASIK. Here’s the U.S. Navy’s data:

Al-Laser Wavefront LASIK

In this study, patients were tested with a Night Driving Simulator before LASIK surgery and 6 months after LASIK. Each patient’s night vision was assessed by the ability to recognize real-life night driving scenarios such as freeway signs, road hazards, and pedestrians. From this study it was concluded that:

  • The vast majority of patients were very satisfied with their vision results with either method.
  • Standard LASIK treated nearsightedness and astigmatism very effectively.
  • Wavefront IntraLASIK patients resulted in a higher percentage of 20/20 or better vision results compared to standard LASIK.
  • Wavefront IntraLASIK patients almost never experienced a decrease in their night vision and often obtained an improvement in night driving performance.

1 Comparison of night driving performance after wavefront-guided and conventional LASIK for moderate myopia. United States Navy, Department of Refractive Surgery. Ophthalmology. 2009 Apr:116(4): 702-709