Presbyopia is a condition that typically becomes noticeable for most people around age 45. In children and young adults, the lens inside the eye can easily focus on distant and near objects. As we age, we lose the ability to focus our eyes on objects at different distances. This ability, called accommodation, becomes impaired as the lenses of our eyes lose their flexibility and begin to harden in a natural aging process called presbyopia. People with presbyopia symptoms often need bifocals or two pairs of glasses, one each for distance and near vision.
Patients who undergo conventional LASIK may still need glasses to correct presbyopia after surgery, because LASIK alone cannot treat presbyopia, as it reshapes the cornea, not the lens. With conventional LASIK, both eyes are corrected for distance vision, leaving some patients in need of glasses for reading and other activities that require close-up vision.
Unlike traditional LASIK, Monovision LASIK may reduce the need for reading glasses in some people over 40 and is most ideal for patients who are mildly hyperopic or are plano and have never needed glasses. The use of Monovision LASIK is an appropriate technique for addressing presbyopia.
Monovision LASIK is used to treat people with presbyopia that preserves good near and distance vision without this need for corrective eyewear. The procedure optimizes one eye for distance sight and the other eye for near sight. With a little practice, patients learn to adjust their vision to accommodate between different distances.
The chief advantage of Monovision LASIK is the freedom it can provide from reading glasses. After six to eight weeks the brain makes the vision changes automatically, without any conscious effort or awareness. Monovision LASIK makes it possible for a person to repeatedly change the range of focus, without having to constantly remove or add corrective lenses.
It is surprising how many patients adapt readily and happily to this vision option, however Monovision LASIK is not for everyone. People who are entering mid-life and are interested in learning more about Monovision LASIK should discuss the matter with their Corneal Associates eye doctor prior to undergoing surgery.