Need to see a thousand meters in the dark? Want one eye that's perfect for reading and another for long distances? Some eye surgeons are already at work reshaping corneas not only to fix patients' vision, but fit their careers.
Laser eye treatment is two decades old, and adept surgeons have gone far beyond giving patients 20:20 vision. Times Online has profiled several such doctors, who offer to tailor their clients' eyesight to their occupation.
Julian Stevens, who practices at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, has given special forces members and fighter pilots the aforementioned ability to see a thousand meters in the dark, and he notes that taxi drivers could benefit from a similar procedure. Stephen Trokel, who helped pioneer laser eye surgery, operated on a soprano who wanted to be able to read the music in the front row of the orchestra, as well as a New York Yankees catcher who needed to be able to see the ball coming out of the light. Another group that favors the occupational ocular enhancements? US presidential candidates, several of whom have received "monovision," which allows them to easily read with one eye and see far away with the other. This combination eliminates the need for reading glasses or bifocals, and some politicians hope it creates a sense of youthfulness.
What do we have to thank for this custom technology? The space program. Wavefront technology, which was developed by NASA to improve the focus of the Hubble Space Telescope, has translated neatly to the human eye. The technology allows physicians to map the cornea and iris, enabling surgeons to make small, specific tweaks to the eye that result in custom eyesight made to order.