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.
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.