Higher Order Aberrations

Higher Order Aberrations cause glare, halos and poor contrast.

In the U.S. FDA clinical trials, patients who had CUSTOM laser vision correction were four times more likely to say they were “very satisfied” with their night vision in comparison to their vision at night with eyeglasses or contact lenses.  

It’s useful to think of the eye as an imperfect visual system. Near- and farsightedness, as well as astigmatism are just the three best known of multiple abnormalities of the visual system that are correctable. These three are collectively known as  lower order aberrations or more commonly, refractive errors , and were treated in the past by prescribing glasses or contact lenses, and today by conventional laser vision correction, such as LASIK, PRK and Epi-LASIK. 

When laser vision correction first came into being, it was only possible to correct the refractive errors, making it possible to, at best, correct vision as well as one could see with glasses or contacts. Subsequent advances in laser vision technology have made it possible to correct these higher order aberrations as well. Hence, it is now possible to correct the quality of vision to a degree that is significantly better than that possible with glasses or contact lenses. This is done using technology known as  CUSTOM laser vision correction. This technology is available at Acuity Laser Eye and Vision Center and can be performed as custom LASIK, custom PRK or custom epi-LASIK.  

There are actually over TWENTY orders of imperfections of the visual system beyond these better known three. These are known as  higher order aberrations of the visual system. Some common visual problems resulting from higher order aberrations include the appearance of spokes or streaks of light projecting from a headlight or street light at night, a halo of light around a light source at night or in dim light, difficulty making out objects or reading signage after dark or before the dawn.

This photo shows the dangers of driving with uncorrected higher order aberrations. The spokes of light and glare prevent the driver from seeing the pedestrian and the roadway clearly and accurately. These higher order aberrations are correctable by Dr. Vale, using the same laser technology that corrects refractive errors.