Patients who have normal distance vision will usually require reading glasses beginning in their early 40’s. The aging of the proteins inside the human lens leads to a progressive loss of focusing power, eventually resulting in blurred vision at near. Many patients over the age of 40 can use simple over-the-counter reading glasses for their near vision. It is not surprising that the newly found need for reading glasses is a significant annoyance to people who have previously enjoyed clear vision without glasses for their entire lives. As a consequence, one of the most frequently asked questions about LASIK is whether it will correct the need for reading glasses.
The simple answer is yes, the more complete answer is that it requires LASIK monovision.
As many patients are aware, reading glasses work only for near vision and make everything blurry at a distance. If a patient has both eyes corrected for reading with glasses (or contacts or LASIK), then distance vision is blurred. Only one eye can be corrected for reading if distance vision is to remain clear. The situation where one eye is corrected for distance and the other eye is corrected for reading is called monovision. The resultant vision is a compromise, and a combination of distance and near vision, and although not absolutely perfect at distance or near, many patients adapt to monovision extremely well. There seems to be a direct correlation between the ability to adapt to monovision and how much an individual dislikes reading glasses.
Many patients use monovision in their contact lenses. If a person has normal distance vision, they can wear a single reading contact in one eye. If a person wears bifocal glasses, they can wear a reading contact in one eye and a distance contact in the other eye.
If a patient is an acceptable candidate for LASIK based upon a number of other factors, LASIK can create virtually any reading or distance prescription, and therefore, can create monovision as well. Prior to having LASIK monovision, a patient must undergo a monovision contact trial in order to test their ability to function and adapt to the vision. Virtually any eye care provider can provide a monovision contact lens trial without requiring the purchase of contacts. Patients typically know right away if they can adapt to monovision and if it would be successful in reducing or eliminating their dependence on glasses and contacts. Patients who are successful with Monovision LASIK are able to enjoy vision at distance and near… without searching for those annoying reading glasses!
Next in our series of articles:
“Seeing Without Glasses after Cataract Surgery: Your Lens Implant Options”