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Is lifestyle a factor in determining my candidacy for LASIK?

There are only two cases I can think of where LASIK candidacy may be determined by your lifestyle. In either scenario,LASIK still might be a good choice.

By Joel Hunter, MD

Lifestyle always seemed like a kind of useless word to me—like it is a little off-the-mark of what it is trying to describe. It seems like a compound word that has less meaning than the two words that compose it. Usually it’s the opposite: workflow, doorknob, toothbrush—those are good compound words. It saves time because in those cases a double-word like that gives a very narrow description of a specific idea better than each word on its own.

Lifestyle on the other hand... I don’t even know what I’m describing. The style of life for someone? The word style doesn’t narrow down what we’re talking about at all. If anything it just adds more questions. It can’t mean personality or interests or careers. There are words for all those things. I’ll come right out and say it: lifestyle is a big stupid non-word. If you’ve read any of these blogs, you may think, “Good golly, this guy is usually upbeat! I wonder what happened to his whimsy.” Well, I’ll tell you. I’ve spent three hours (this is true) writing and rewriting this article and deleting all of it because I can’t wrap an explanatory structure around the question. I feel like I’ve been trying to write an answer to the question, “Is energymood a factor?”

So, in breaking with tradition of answering the exact question—since it’s like trying to answer if yellow is round or square—I’m going to answer a different question. Hopefully it also answers questions about lifestyle for people smarter than me who know what that word means. It also just occurred to me that maybe I don’t have a lifestyle, and that’s what’s handicapped me in writing this. Nonetheless, here’s the answer to LASIK candidacy based on career and hobbies.

There are only two cases I can think of where LASIK candidacy might be determined by the specifics of what you do in your daily life. The first is folks who rely on extreme near vision. This would include fine jewelry design, circuit board soldering, creating tiny model replicas, etc... In those cases, being myopic may be better than not. The handicap of having no distance vision without glasses can come with one singular perk of incredible near vision. When you correct myopia with LASIK, near vision still works for reading and the other activities associated with up close vision. But the best “perfect” vision can’t compete for easy near vision when it is up against myopia.

Being myopic means your eyes naturally, at rest, are perfectly in focus at a very close distance. It requires zero work from your focusing muscles in your eyes. Your eyes are built to use those focusing muscles when needed, but if you never need to use them at all then you are accomplishing the same near vision task with zero effort. You may not be able to see who walks into your office, but you can stare in perfect focus a few inches in front of your face all day without effort. That’s a nice feature to have if most of your day is spent dealing with extremely close and small objects.

The other category where LASIK may not necessarily be best is for pilots over the age of 45. There are different rules for distance and near vision with different pilot licenses. In some cases, glasses may still be necessary when flying. Having performed LASIK on pilots over the years, I can say it’s not been a problem before. But there’s probably some selection bias in that sample group because the pilots who chose to have LASIK were folks that knew what I just wrote here. It’s because I told them directly, since this article wasn’t written yet.

In either of these two scenarios, it’s possible that LASIK is still going to be a good choice. It’s just important to know all the factors specifically related to you when you’re making that choice. If “lifestyle” means something different to you than what we talked about here, I’d love to answer questions about it at a consult. And the motivation there is almost entirely selfish because I really want to learn what we’re talking about when we use the word lifestyle.

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These articles are brought to you by Hunter Vision. We help people in Orlando discover life after glasses and contacts.
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