Are You Too Old For LASIK?

There is no definite upper age limit for LASIK. Your general health and the health of your eyes are much bigger factors in deciding your LASIK candidacy than your age. As you get older, however, you will probably face different age-related vision problems that LASIK cannot correct, such as presbyopia and cataracts.

Cataract surgery must be performed before LASIK surgery is possible. If you are past your early 40s and are starting to experience presbyopia symptoms, you may still need to use reading glasses after undergoing LASIK. Since presbyopia is a problem with your lens, not your cornea, LASIK cannot directly treat it, although it can still correct your distance vision.

A different LASIK option for older patients is monovision. This treatment, which can be achieved with LASIK techniques, is designed as an alternative to reading glasses. With monovision, one of your eyes is corrected for distance vision, while the other is corrected for near vision. Your brain decides which eye should be used depending on the object you are focusing on.

If you have further questions about LASIK candidacy, find an experienced ophthalmologist in your area today to schedule an initial consultation.


Having 20/20 vision is nice. It’s the way your vision should be. Millions of people need corrective lenses to see 20/20 because of myopia. However, these individuals, as well as those who have natural 20/20 vision may find when they hit their early 40s that things that were once so crystal clear up close have begun to get fuzzy. This blurred vision may be more than a passing thing, it may be presbyopia.

Presbyopia is part of aging, and unavoidable for nearly everyone after they’ve reached 40. It’s the reason your grandparents all wear reading glasses, and it’s the reason your parents hold their books and magazines as far away from them as they can.  Presbyopia is, for all intents and purposes, age-related farsightedness.

Why people develop presbyopia is not fully understood, and there are a couple theories. One is that the lens begins to become hard due to proteins. This makes the lens less flexible to focal changes. Another theory is that the ciliary muscle begins to weaken. This makes it harder for the lens curvature to steepen to see things near. A third, and newest, theory is that the lens continues to grow, and by age 40 it has grown so much that the ciliary muscle does not have enough space to contract and steepen the lens. However, this last theory is not held by many eye doctors right now.

Whatever causes presbyopia can only be fixed by the old standbys: corrective lenses, LASIK, and conductive keratoplasty (CK).

If you are 40 or older and have noticed your near vision beginning to blur, find an experienced eye doctor in your area to test you for presbyopia today.

Study Reveals the Effect of Long-Term Space Travel on the Eyes

Results from a NASA study show that long-term spaceflight could have a significant impact on the eyes. The study looked at seven astronauts who had spent six continuous months or more in space, on the international space station. All the astronauts were about age 50.

The astronauts all reported some degree of visual symptoms, including blurriness, which was reported by all subjects. The visual symptoms typically began around six weeks into the mission. An in-depth examination of the astronauts’ eyes showed that all had one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Flattening of the back of the eyeball (five subjects)
  • Folds in the vascular tissue (choroid) behind the retina (five subjects)
  • Excess fluid around and presumed swelling of the optic nerve (five subjects)

Researchers speculate that the changes might have been caused by increased intracranial pressure, abnormal flow of spinal fluid around the optic nerve, changes in blood flow, low intraocular pressure, or a combination of factors. In orbit, astronauts experience what is known as microgravity, which can change the distribution and flow of fluids in the body.

Most of the astronauts reported that visual symptoms went away about 6 weeks after returning to earth, while others report symptoms lasting months or years.

Overall, visual changes are seen in about 23% of astronauts on short missions and 48% of astronauts on longer missions. However, it is unknown which changes resulted in visual changes. Although choroidal folds can sometimes be associated with visual symptoms, it is more likely that visual changes were caused by flattening of the eye, which could result in hyperopia, since the lens might be focusing light behind the retina. Researchers also propose that the astronauts may be experiencing presbyopia, which would be more common in astronauts now that their average age has increased.

Visual changes associated with space travel have been speculated since the earliest days. “space anticipation glasses” for improved visual acuity were made for early astronauts. John Glenn and others had them in their space capsule.

These findings are significant for longer trips to Mars or other planets that are being planned for this century. Perhaps these findings will encourage the use of faster continuous-acceleration voyages rather than lower-energy but cheaper “coasting” missions.

If your vision is not as clear as it used to be, you should visit a local ophthalmologist for a comprehensive vision exam.

Treatment Options for Presbyopia

What is Presbyopia?

Presbyopia is the technical name for the vision impairment that comes with age. In young eyes, the lens is flexible, able to change its shape to focus light and help you see things that are both far and near. As the eye ages, however, the lens becomes stiffer, and it is unable to bend enough to focus on close objects.

If you are over 40, you have probably noticed that words on a page have become harder to read. They seem out of focus and blurry. These effects of presbyopia are simply part of the natural aging process, and while they cannot be prevented, they can be treated.

Treatment Options

Getting prescription glasses or contacts is a simple fix for presbyopia. However, if you find glasses or contacts frustrating and inconvenient, surgical treatments are also available.

Presbyopia Laser Vision Correction, also known as LASIK monovision, corrects vision so that one eye focuses on far objects and the other focuses on near objects. Though each eye focuses differently, the brain is able to coordinate the two images so you can clearly see the book on your desk and the mountains out the window beyond you.

Presbyopia lens replacement surgery is another option. In this treatment, your eye’s natural lens is replaced with an artificial one called an intraocular lens (IOL). This lens will be able to flex where your old lens could not and will correct your near vision.

Recently, doctors are experimenting with a third surgical option called presbyopic LASIK or presbyLASIK. In contrast to LASIK monovision, this treatment enables you to have binocular vision, where both eyes can focus both near and far.

Currently, presbyLASIK is not FDA approved to treat presbyopia, but it there is evidence that it could be a viable treatment option. According to one study, 81% of the 178 participants who received presbyLASIK ended up with 20/20 or better binocular vision. However, some of the patients who were in their mid to late 40s lost their near vision again in a few years as they aged. While not the current standard of care, presbyLASIK may become another successful treatment for presbyopia as technology develops and scientists gather more information.

If you suffer from presbyopia and are wondering about treatment options, please contact an experienced ophthalmologist in your area today who can answer your questions during your free consultation.

How Long Does LASIK Last?

If you are considering LASIK eye surgery, you may have heard conflicting information about how long the results of the surgery last. Is it permanent, or temporary? To understand the answer, you need to have a proper understanding of how LASIK works.

During LASIK, your cornea – the clear membrane that covers the front of your eye – is reshaped to address and correct your specific eye condition. This is permanent; your cornea will not lose its new shape after surgery, no matter how much time has passed.

However, as we get older and begin to reach middle-age, our vision starts naturally deteriorating. LASIK cannot avoid this future problem; it can simply address your specific eye disorder now. Along with our bodies, our vision will change as we grow older. This is unavoidable.

A common eye disorder that comes with age is presbyopia, where a person’s near vision starts to become increasingly blurry, often making reading glasses necessary for many patients. This is not an issue with the cornea, which has been corrected by LASIK, but rather with the eye’s lens. At the time of your LASIK screening, your ophthalmologist can explain this to you in more detail.

If you have further questions about LASIK surgery, please contact an experienced ophthalmologist near you to schedule a consultation.

Software Helps Aging Eyes Operate Cell Phones

For many people with aging eyes, operating a cell phone can be difficult. The small screens that many people have on their phones can be very hard to read for people with presbyopia or following cataract surgery. Now, a new software package helps people with aging vision to operate their cell phones without fumbling for glasses or asking for help from people around them.

The software is called C-CallerID, and it works by identifying common callers with a large, easily-readable abbreviation of one or two letters or a visual icon that can be selected from the company’s database. It was developed by a man as an app for his wife who had trouble using her phone after cataract surgery. The product was unveiled at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and is available for use on many mobile phones, including Motorola, Nokia, Sony, Samsung, and LG. Although it is currently available in Britain, its availability for people in the United States is not known.

C-CallerID is an ideal solution for people who have smaller phones that are primarily used for phone calls and text messages and do not want to upgrade to larger-screened smartphones.

Although age definitely leads to a number of visual changes, it doesn’t have to lead to a reduction in your quality of life. To learn more about how you can enjoy life to the fullest despite changes in your vision, please contact a local ophthalmologist.

IOL Choice and Gender Differences

Multifocal intraocular lenses, or multifocal IOLs, are used to correct presbyopia in adults as well as cataracts. However, according to Dr. Magda Rau’s observations over 12 years of study show that there are significant gender differences in patients’ preferences and outcomes with multifocal IOLs.

Dr. Rau has found that women adjust more quickly and have fewer complaints after IOL surgery. She also found that women tend to prefer better near-vision correction, while men tend to prefer distance vision. However, Dr. Rau also says that younger women who work outside the home have shifted their preference to distance vision, while older female cataract patients with more traditional, stay-at-home gender roles stick to near vision.

While Dr. Rau speculates that these gender differences in IOL preference stem from women prioritizing reading and other near-vision activities, while men tend to desire a wide, distance view of the world. She has also noticed that women tend to hold reading materials closer than men, since women have shorter arms, on average, and tend to read with elbows bend whereas men tend to read with arms extended.

To learn more about intraocular lenses and treatment for cataracts and presbyopia in your area, please visit our directory to find a qualified ophthalmologist near you.

Night Driving Difficulty with Multifocal Lenses

A study recently reported that those who wear multifocal contact lenses have more trouble with night time driving than those who wear glasses. This is a problem because more and more people are turning to multifocal lenses as they age, rather than wear glasses, for their appearance.

The study was admittedly a small one (11 volunteers), but looked at those who had presbyopia and are between ages 45 and 64. They drove around a closed circuit driving track at night while wearing multifocal contact lenses.

While wearing the lenses, their driving speeds were slower and were less able to recognize road hazards, even while wearing lenses. They reportedly also had to be closer to road signs to read what they said. This decreased the amount of time they had to react to the signs.

One solution the authors of the study said might work was to prescribe one multifocal lens correction for daytime use and another correction for nighttime use.

Presbyopia is an age-related loss of vision that affects nearly everyone after the age of 40. It may require reading glasses even if you’ve had 20/20 vision your entire life. There are many theories about what may cause it, including the lens becoming harder or stiffer with age.

For more information about presbyopia, contact to find an experienced eye doctor in your area.

Multifocal LASIK Gives Good Presbyopia Results

In an article in the Journal of Refractive Surgery, doctors at the Gordon & Wiess vision institute reported the results of a series of progressive multifocal LASIK (PML) using the WaveLight Allegretto laser platform for the treatment of presbyopia. This is different from, but similar to the use of femtosecond lasers to create a multifocal cornea.

This series reported results from a series of 102 patients who had the procedure and received a follow-up at least three months after treatment. According to their results 81% of patients had 20/20 or better binocular uncorrected distance visual acuity (UDVA) and 98% had 20/25 or better UDVA. The real breakthrough, though, is that 44% had Jaeger (J) 1 near visual acuity, 60% had J2, and 96% had J3. Jaeger visual acuity tests, although not standard, are often better for near visual acuity, the crucial factor being corrected in presbyopia treatment.

The study did not report any complications from the treatment. However, one concern not addressed in the study report is whether visual acuity was dependent on light levels, since multifocal treatments can often give variable results with respect to pupil size, since the rounded pupil cuts out one or more refractive zones as it shrinks. Hopefully, this and other new presbyopia treatments are working to address this problem.

Presbyopia affects almost everyone, especially as we age. If you have noticed that your near vision has begun to blur in recent years, please contact a local ophthalmologist and have your vision evaluated.

New Presbyopia Treatments May Hit U.S. Market Shortly

Chicago, Illinois – Last month, the joint meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and Middle East Africa Council of Ophthalmology convened in Chicago. One of the items discussed was several important presbyopia treatments currently in use across Europe which may be close to receiving approval in the United States as well. Clinical trial data presented at the meeting indicate that these treatments have been yielding successful results while maintaining patient safety.

Ophthalmologists at the University Hospital of Crete in Greece reported considerable success using a new type of corneal lens implant called the Flexivue. It has been implanted in the corneas of 15 patients suffering from presbyopia. One year after lens implantation, every patient exhibited stable vision in both eyes. Doctors acknowledged that patient selection was an important factor in determining the success of the procedure.

Ophthalmologists at Durrie Vision in Overland Park, Kansas have been conducting clinical trials for corneal inlays for the past three years. During that time, 153 patients received the corneal inlay, either with a 5- or 10-micron-thick AcuFocus lens. The 5-micron group demonstrated near vision at levels of 20/20, while the 10-micron group experienced near vision at levels of 20/25. Distance vision remained strong in the eye receiving the implanted lens.

A study conducted by ophthalmologists at the University of Heidelberg in Germany presented data demonstrating the success of a corneal reshaping procedure. The two-year-follow-up data on this INTRACOR presbyopia treatment indicated that the 25 patients involved in the study experienced significant improvement of their near vision, eliminating the need for corrective lenses. Distance vision was preserved as well. Vision improvements remained stable throughout the follow-up period.

Doctors are hoping that these treatments will clear FDA hurdles shortly so that American presbyopia patients can benefit from them as well.