Is LASIK Able to Fix Presbyopia?
If you find yourself holding objects farther away to focus as you get older, you might be experiencing presbyopia. This condition can be irritating as you constantly need to adjust and strain your eyes to see clearly.
As you get older, it’s vital to understand what causes presbyopia and the treatment options available to bring you relief. Is LASIK an option to fix your condition?
What is Presbyopia?
Presbyopia is also known as age-related farsightedness. When we’re younger, the lens is flexible and can adjust to refract light from outside the eye onto the retina at the back of the eye. As we get older, presbyopia occurs when the eye’s natural lens loses elasticity and becomes rigid, making it difficult to focus light properly.
Presbyopia symptoms typically become noticeable after the age of 40 and continue to worsen until around age 65. Symptoms of presbyopia include:
- Decreased ability to focus at close distances
- Holding objects at arm’s length for clarity
- Headaches after focusing at near distances
- Eye strain after reading or using a screen
Presbyopia symptoms are similar to those associated with hyperopia, or farsightedness. The main difference between presbyopia and hyperopia is presbyopia occurs because of an error with the inner lens, and a misshapen cornea causes hyperopia.
Is LASIK an Option?
Laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, more commonly called LASIK, is an innovative laser eye surgery technique to correct refractive vision problems like myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. These refractive errors can occur because of an irregularly shaped cornea.
During LASIK surgery, a doctor uses a small blade or a laser to cut a small flap in the front of the eye. Moving this flap provides the doctor with access to the corneal tissue.
After creating the flap, the doctor uses a precisely-programmed laser to remove small amounts of corneal tissue. This process reshapes the cornea to improve the refractive error and help light pass clearly through the cornea.
LASIK is an ideal option for people with refractive errors who don’t want to rely on glasses or contact lenses anymore. However, it is usually not an option for people with presbyopia.
Typical LASIK surgery techniques are ineffective solutions for presbyopia because presbyopia is caused by a rigid inner lens, not an incorrectly-shaped cornea. Most often, your doctor will recommend other treatments over laser eye surgery. However, you could ask your doctor whether monovision is an option for you.
Monovision involves using laser technology to correct each eye for a different distance. Typically, the dominant eye is corrected for distance vision, while the non-dominant one is corrected for near vision.
Over time, the brain learns to adapt to monovision by relying on one eye for distance and one eye for close vision. Essentially, the brain will ignore input from the other eye while focusing at different distances.
Monovision isn’t a perfect solution, and many patients still require reading glasses occasionally after receiving treatment. Patients may have to make some compromises in order to gain better near vision.
While LASIK may not be the most effective option to treat presbyopia, several proven options provide better near vision without compromising other parts of a person’s sight at far distances.
Reading glasses are an option for people who only experience presbyopia and don’t have myopia, hyperopia, or astigmatism. Reading glasses refract light before it enters the eye to account for the error caused by presbyopia, making it easier for light to reach the retina and for a person to see clearly at near distances.
Multifocal lenses help a person’s eyes adjust to different distances seamlessly. Often called “progressive lenses,” these lenses allow a person to adjust to seeing at both near and far distances without needing to change lenses. Bifocal lenses are also an option, with a clear line in the middle distinguishing between one prescription and the other.
Two different contact lens options provide relief for people with presbyopia: multifocal contact lenses and monovision contact lenses. Multifocal contact lenses have multiple prescriptions in one lens. Monovision lenses work similarly to the surgery, using one lens for distance vision and another for near vision.
See Clearly with Signature Eye Care
Presbyopia is a natural part of the aging process. It can be challenging to find the right vision-correction option, so you don’t have to sacrifice or make any lifestyle changes.
Your doctor at Signature Eye Care is committed to helping you find the ideal solution for your unique presbyopia condition. Whether fitting you for the right contact lenses or finding your perfect frames, we’re here to help. Get in touch with us to book your appointment today.