Usually, it’s around age 45 that you begin to notice the symptoms of presbyopia – the hardening of your natural lens that makes it difficult to shift focus from distance to near easily. What that translates to in your day-to-day life is a gradual decrease in near vision. You need to hold magazines, phone or package labels further away, or find you need more light, until eventually your arms aren’t long enough and you acknowledge your aging eyes. This usually involves purchasing several pair of reading glasses, never where you need them when you need them, or the transition to bifocal or progressive lenses.
- correct both eyes for distance and use reading glasses for up-close tasks, or
- correct one eye for distance and one eye for near to create what’s known as monovision.
LASIK is a great procedure for those not yet affected by presbyopia and ready to eliminate glasses for distance vision; however, laser vision correction cannot restore the elasticity to the natural lens inside the eye. For those over 40 who want to maintain near and distance vision, there is a technique that is commonly used with contact lenses called monovision in which one eye is fit with a contact lens to see at distance and the other eye is fit with a contact lens to see near. This same technique can be used with LASIK. One eye would be treated for distance and the other treated for close work.
For those who spend most of their day doing near work (reading, computer, etc.), the first option still requires wearing glasses a significant portion of time, which counters the benefit of LASIK. The latter option works well for many, but may be difficult for some to adapt to because their brain has trouble accepting different vision in each eye. For people with active lifestyles (those who play golf, tennis or drive a great deal at night), monovision is not recommended. Please tell Dr. Zimm if you’d like to consider the monovision treatment.