If someone you know still wears reading glasses after having LASIK surgery, you may have some questions, especially if you are considering having the procedure done yourself. After all, LASIK surgery corrects vision problems like myopia (nearsightedness) and astigmatism permanently, so many assume it eliminates the need for glasses or contact lenses.
It turns out, requiring “readers” after having LASIK surgery is a common, natural occurrence for many people over the age of 40 due to a condition called presbyopia.
What Is Presbyopia?
Presbyopia, or “aging eye,” is a condition where the eye naturally loses the ability to focus on objects up close. This makes it difficult to read small print or clearly see objects close to the eye. It is a normal result of aging that affects many people beginning in their mid-40s and gradually worsens until around age 65.
Some of the symptoms of presbyopia include:
- Headaches after reading up close
- Blurred vision at a normal reading distance
- Needing to hold reading material away from the face
What Causes Presbyopia?
Even if you have great eyesight in your younger years, you can still develop presbyopia.
When you look at something closely, your eye’s lens and ciliary muscles constrict so they can focus light onto the retina more clearly. As you age, your lens and ciliary muscles harden and lose the ability to change shape and focus light as effectively, causing your vision to blur up close.
Presbyopia Risk Factors
While presbyopia is mostly an age-related condition, certain risk factors can increase your likelihood of developing it prematurely. These risk factors include:
- Having diabetes
- Being naturally farsighted
- Taking certain drugs (antidepressants, antihistamines and diuretics)
Can LASIK Correct Presbyopia?
LASIK surgery is used to correct myopia and refractive errors like astigmatism and hyperopia – but not problems stemming from presbyopia. It is possible to have presbyopia and another type of refractive error simultaneously, so older adults may still want to have LASIK performed.
If you are nearsighted, or you can see clearly up close but not far away, LASIK may cause you to lose some of your ability to see up close earlier than usual. Similarly, if your vision is fully corrected for distance, you are more likely to need reading glasses once presbyopia develops.
If you are an older adult considering LASIK, ask your doctor about correcting your vision for monovision. This procedure treats one eye for nearsightedness and the other for farsightedness, effectively providing clearer vision at any distance. It can be difficult for your eyes to get used to this though, so it is not for everyone. Consider doing a trial with contact lenses first.
Intraocular Lens Implants
Intraocular lens implants (IOLs) are another potential solution for people who want to correct their “aging eye” without relying on readers. IOLs are artificial lenses that correct refractive errors while permanently replacing your natural lenses. Presbyopia-correcting IOLs are a more recent development that are typically used with patients who do not qualify for laser refractive surgery.
Vision Solutions in Mercer and Bucks Counties
Whether you are considering LASIK or have questions about potential presbyopia solutions, Campus Eye Group offers the latest advancements in vision correction and treatment. Some of our comprehensive services include IOLs, LASIK and, of course, eyeglasses and contact lenses.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 609-587-2020 or visit us online today!