Posted on April 26, 2012, 11:18 am by Dr Henry Smit
I recently acquired contacts and because of that have been especially critical of my vision. I notice that I had rainbow colored halos around bright lights when looking directly at them.
Ive done some research and after a quick look from the optometrist there was nothing visibly wrong with my eyes.
I am myopic (.75 and 1.25) but my glasses are overcorrected 1.75 both eyes. I don't wear them usually because I don't like the idea of a higher than needed prescription although I see fine and have headaches over my right eye once in a blue moon, with nausea.
I notice the halos only at night around bright led type light or street lamps when looking directly at them.
No glare or starbursts just halos, only noticeable if I try to see them, otherwise my night vision is unaffected.
I'm worried because I'm going to apply for policing and this may stop from being an officer. My acuity has been at 20/40 for almost 9 years and my prescription and pretty much stayed the same.
I'm considering LASIK and I'm wondering if this may be the answer for the halos, since my Google searches seem to say LASIK fixes myopia. I may be wrong or have read wrong
I otherwise have no ailments conditions or diseases and no other signs I'm 20 years old.
Halos don’t bother me and I can drive fine at night.
I'm just wondering why I'm experiencing this. It may have also been there all along just haven’t noticed it.
Dr Henry Smit's response:
Thank you for your multi-pronged inquiry. I will do my best to answer your questions based on the information you have provided.
Halos around lights are most often caused by defects in the optical system of the eye – primarily the cornea and the crystalline lens. In the case of a person who wears contact lenses, the contact lenses become part of the optical system of the eye, and they too can contribute to the phenomenon of seeing halos. Sometimes it takes only a subtle defect in the clarity or surface quality of any of the contributing elements of the eye’s optical system to cause the wearer to see halos around lights. These defects can sometimes be difficult to discern in a “quick look” at the eyes.
It is also possible that the contact lenses are causing a bit of edema (swelling) of the corneas. If you are wearing the contact lenses for long hours, and if the halos are only visible when you wear the contact lenses or shortly after they are removed, this may be the underlying cause. Corneal edema is more likely to happen in cases where the contact lens is fitting too tightly, or if the contact lens material does not transmit sufficient oxygen to the cornea.
Wearing glasses that over correct your myopia causes the eyes to do unnecessary extra focusing in order to maintain clear vision. This is probably the underlying cause of the discomfort you experience when you wear them. I would suggest that you update the prescription in your glasses so that you will have a properly prescribed alternative to your contact lenses should you happen to find yourself in situations where wearing your contact lenses is not feasible.
A personally customized LASIK procedure may be able to reduce your halos if they are being caused by what are referred to as “higher order aberrations” in your eye’s optical system. In custom LASIK procedures, the laser treatment that is applied is completely tailored to your specific prescription and any unique optical aberrations that your eyes may have. While there is no guarantee that all halos will be eliminated, custom LASIK may be beneficial in some cases. The procedure should also reduce your dependence on glasses or contacts.
In any case, seeing faint halos around lights is usually not considered an impediment to joining a police force. So long as your corrected and uncorrected visual acuity and other measureable visual skills (such as colour vision, binocular coordination and peripheral sensitivity) meet the standards established by the police force you wish to join, and your eyes are disease free, then the faint halos that you have described should not prevent you from pursuing your chosen career.
Best of luck.