Superhero Powers: Looking Deeper

Posted on 2014/06/05 at 4:33 pm by LASIK MD

Superheros tap into a deep sense of desire—of wanting to push the bounds of human capability and defy expectations. Every hero has his own adaption, his own improvement on one of the five basic senses (or the addition of a sixth). Augmented strength, rapid healing, and invisibility are just a few examples, but some of the most interesting superhero powers are in the eyes. which offer a huge range of abilities.


The classic hero archetype, Superman has several powers that rely on his eyes. Heat vision is one of his most iconic abilities, and one of the most draining to use. According to comic book lore, Superman is able to emit solar energy from his eyes in the form of “heat beams.” At low temperatures, these beams may be invisible but when hotter become red-orange or white. He is able to use them with surgical precision and on more than one occasion has bounced them off a mirror to remove his durable Kryptonian facial hair. Superman also has X-ray vision, allowing him to see through solid objects (expect for lead). Initially, his heat vision was a byproduct of X-ray vision, but later comics separated the two powers.


One of the most popular X-Men characters, Cyclops is often portrayed as the field commander of Professor Charles Xaviers’ team, managing other heroes such as Storm, Jean Grey, and Wolverine. His power also involves force emitted from the eyes, but unlike Superman, Cyclops is unable to fully control it. Early comics held that Cyclops—also known as Scott Summers—metabolized ambient solar energy, but more modern accounts indicate he has “inter-dimensional apertures” in his eyes, which constantly produce energy. Cyclops emits a single beam instead of two defined blasts like Superman, and is unable to shut off the beam’s production when his eyes are open. To combat this problem, he wears sunglasses or a visor made of “ruby-quartz”, which is able to absorb the excess energy. In addition, his power doesn’t burn, but instead pushes back or blasts through objects.

Captain America

An all-American soldier-turned-superhero, Captain America isn’t able to shoot anything from his eyes, but he does have the ability to see fast-moving objects and people as if they were operating at normal speeds with a power called “accelerated vision.” This allows him to predict, for example, where an opponent will strike from the moment they begin to swing or shoot, letting the Captain respond accordingly. Also known as “bullet time,” this ability is shared by other heroes like the Flash.


When it comes to superhero powers, Hawkeye doesn’t actually have any. Instead, he has trained his body and mind so well that he has reached the peak of human conditioning. As a result, his vision is much sharper than average and his strength is much greater, allowing him to make best use of his favorite weapon: the bow. Most sources give Hawkeye’s bow a draw weight of 250 pounds—by comparison, the average adult male draws with a 60 to 80 pound bow. His exceptional sight gives Hawkeye the ability to make almost impossible shots, bank arrows around corners, and see targets at great distances.

Can we emulate these superhero powers? Not yet, but it is possible to improve your vision significantly using laser vision correction. While it won’t give you heat vision or beams of concussive force, this safe, pain-free procedure can correct astigmatism, far- and nearsightedness, and get you much closer to the ideal of 20/20 vision.

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