WHAT IS PRESBYOPIA?
The lens in our eye acts like a focusing lens in a camera. When we are children, our eyes are able to focus on objects as close as our nose to objects very far away. As we get older, the ability to “focus” decreases. Typically, by the time we reach our forties, we will need reading glasses or bifocals to focus on objects near to us. This condition is called “presbyopia.”
CORRECTING PRESBYOPIA WITH CORRECTIVE LENSES
When nearsighted (myopic) people over the age of 40 are wearing glasses or contact lenses to correct their vision, they also experience presbyopia. Because the nearsighted eye has a natural focal point “at near”, many nearsighted presbyopes can remove their glasses or contact lenses and read or do close work comfortably. Many people who are myopic choose to wear bifocals to eliminate the need for removing and replacing their glasses.
Many presbyopic contact lens wearers choose to wear a contact lens on one eye that does not fully correct the myopia which enables that eye to focus on near objects, while the other eye focuses well on distant objects. This type of correction is called “monovision.”
CORRECTING MONOVISION WITH LASIK SURGERY
If you plan to have LASIK surgery to eliminate or reduce your myopia, you may still experience presbyopia sometime in your forties. You will typically be normally sighted after the procedure, and you may need reading glasses for small print, like every other normally sighted person after age 40.
Many of our patients choose monovision for their surgical correction to eliminate the need for glasses even when they reach presbyopia. However, some patients are not comfortable with the difference in their eyes and choose to have their myopia only slightly undercorrected. Others go ahead and have their eyes fully corrected and wear glasses only for reading or close work when they become presbyopic.
If myopia is only partially reduced in one eye, as in “monovision,” you may choose to have that myopia fully reduced at a later time.
Patients who have not previously tried “monovision” with contact lenses, may be asked to do so before deciding to have monovision with the LASIK procedure. This will give them the opportunity to experience monovision and help them to make a more informed decision before having the LASIK procedure.