Laser-assisted in situ keratomileuses, or LASIK, is a common refractive surgery used to eliminate the need for glasses. But what if you need reading glasses? Can LASIK help with that too? As we age, presbyopia onsets, making it more challenging to see things up close. So, can LASIK and presbyopia go together?
Definition of Presbyopia
The word presbyopia originates from the Greek words “presbys”, meaning old man, and “ōps”, meaning eyes. In short, presbyopia means old eyes. The crystalline lens inside our eyes normally helps us to focus on near objects, but it hardens over time, losing its flexibility. This makes near tasks increasingly difficult, starting in our forties.
When you see people holding objects further away to see them, or putting on reading glasses, that’s because they’re presbyopic.
Can LASIK Correct Presbyopia?
Presbyopia is also sometimes referred to as “age-related farsightedness”. Even if you’ve had LASIK in the past, unfortunately, presbyopia is inevitable. LASIK reshapes the cornea, but presbyopia is due to a loss of elasticity in the crystalline lens inside the eye, which is unaffected by LASIK. So, when one reaches the point of having “old age eyes,” are they stuck with reading glasses forever? Well, not necessarily.
One way to correct presbyopia is using a concept called monovision. Monovision involves correcting one eye for distance and the other for a close-up. This is commonly done in contact lenses and can be done with LASIK, too. Your brain learns which eye to use for which task. Your dominant eye is usually set for distance vision, while your non-dominant eye is used for near.
It can be useful to try out monovision in contact lenses before proceeding with surgical correction. This helps to determine how much reading correction is optimal for your specific needs and also establishes how well your brain can adapt to this type of vision correction.
Monovision can minimize the dependence on glasses at most ranges. Some people may feel off-balance or experience glare and halos at night, so it’s important to do an evaluation in contact lenses before proceeding with monovision LASIK for presbyopia. The visual correction can be adjusted to minimize these effects and this will need to be determined ahead of time.
If you’re considering LASIK but were concerned about presbyopia, either now or in the future, so you know you have options! Monovision is a great way to minimize dependency on glasses and still be able to see far, near, and in between.
Dr. Kraff is a leading refractive surgeon serving Chicago and the surrounding area. With his extensive experience in correcting presbyopia with monovision LASIK, you can be confident you’re in good hands under his care. Call the office to schedule your complimentary consultation today.