If you’ve reached the age at which you’re starting to hold the newspaper or restaurant menu at arm’s length in order to see the print, welcome to the presbyopia club. This age-related vision problem tends to develop sometime during our forties. Depending on your general health and genetic makeup, you may navigate the presbyopia experience just fine for many years. Some people with presbyopia can manage well without reading glasses for decades. At some point, though, reliance on eyeglasses or other treatment is inevitable. Presbyopia makes it difficult to see objects that are closer to the eyes. Hence, why we start to hold objects farther away. The difficulty occurs because the eyes’ lenses aren’t as flexible as they once were. The flexibility of the lens of the eye is integral to bending light rays properly so they are more focused as they pass through the cornea. When the lens becomes rigid, light is not properly processed.
Does Presbyopia Mean it’s Time for LASIK?
When people start to struggle with the idea of relying on eyeglasses every day, they consider alternatives that will provide them with the freedom they’ve always enjoyed. Because LASIK laser vision correction is so well-known, people with blurry vision caused by presbyopia may instinctively think that they will seek out this procedure. Doing so might lead to some confusion, because an ophthalmologist would not recommend LASIK for this type of vision problem. You see, presbyopia is a lens problem. LASIK improves vision by refining an irregularly shaped cornea. During LASIK surgery, a laser is used to precisely shape the cornea so it is better at focusing light. The procedure has no impact on the eye’s lens, so cannot be used to treat presbyopia. The good news is, there is still hope for a long-term solution.
How Can I Treat Presbyopia?
We mentioned that many people use reading glasses to help them through their normal daily activities that involve up-close vision. Reading glasses are convenient because they don’t require a prescription (unless you have an additional refractive error affecting your distance vision). However, at some point, a lot of people who rely on reading glasses simply get tired of them. Active adults don’t want to be tied to their eyeglasses when out and about, and many don’t like the way that eyeglasses make them look or feel older than they’d like.
A long-term solution for presbyopia is available at the office of your trusted ophthalmologist. To improve vision affected by presbyopia, Dr. Sondheimer may recommend refractive lens exchange. This procedure is performed in the office using a local anesthetic. It is very much like the process of removing cataracts, another condition that affects the lens of one or both eyes. In the procedure, the doctor uses precision technology to remove the affected lens from its capsule. An artificial lens called an intraocular lens is inserted in its place. The procedure is so conservative that it does not require any stitches, and does not involve much downtime. Refractive lens exchange involves choice intraocular lens options, including devices that focus at multiple distances, just like the natural eye. According to studies, more than 80% of patients who undergo refractive lens exchange report significant improvement. The vast majority no longer need eyeglasses at all.
Presbyopia may be common, but it doesn’t have to be a normal part of your aging process. To learn more about refractive lens exchange and advanced intraocular lenses, contact our Skokie, IL office at 847-677-2794.