Presbyopia is a normal and expected consequence of the aging process. Presbyopia occurs when the natural lens inside the eye gradually loses its flexibility. The crystalline lens within your eyes is composed of proteins. When you are young, these proteins are soft and flexible. As you begin to approach your 40s, presbyopia occurs as the protein composition of the crystalline lens changes, making it harder and less flexible. When the crystalline lens loses its ability to flex, it is no longer able to change its shape and effectively bend light rays as sharply so the ability to focus on near objects is diminished. When presbyopia sets in, people who already wear glasses may need bifocals or trifocals, and those who have never worn glasses may require reading glasses.
As mentioned above, people will start to notice symptoms of presbyopia around age 45. Most people first notice that they have to hold books, magazines and other materials further away in order to be able to focus their eyes to read. The condition will progressively worsen.
If you are age 40 or over and considering LASIK, presbyopia is an important concept to understand. LASIK has absolutely no effect on your eye’s focusing muscles or on the crystalline lens, so it does not correct ordinary presbyopia. So, if you only need eyeglasses for reading, LASIK is not a good vision correction option for you. However, if you need to have your distance vision corrected because you are nearsighted, farsighted or have astigmatism and need some help with close vision because you are beginning to experience presbyopia, LASIK may be an option if performed as a specialized monovision LASIK.
Monovision LASIK works by correcting one eye for distance and the other eye for near vision. LASIK for presbyopia through monovision removes the need for bifocals or reading glasses, but it can also have an effect on depth perception. If LASIK is not an appropriate option for a patient, an alternative may be bifocal contact lenses that can correct for both far and near vision in both eyes.
Presbyopia is an issue that requires correction and if not properly treated will cause vision to get worse and interfere with daily life. To find out if LASIK for presbyopia may be right for you, contact Harvard Eye Associates at 949-951-2020 or harvardeye.com to schedule a consultation.