Presbyopia occurs with normal ageing as the focusing lens within the eye loses some of its flexibility and the eye can no longer focus as clearly on near objects. This condition usually becomes apparent between the ages of 40 and 50 years and results in the need for reading glasses. With increasing age, the strength of the reading glasses needed will increase.
Laser surgery cannot reverse the ageing changes of the lens to restore your focusing ability. However, we can use laser and other refractive surgery procedures to induce some myopia (or short-sightedness) in your non-dominant eye to provide you some clarity up close and assistance with reading. This concept is called mono vision. Many people find monovision very helpful and allow a reduction in glasses for many activities. As some patients do not adjust well to this arrangement, we always recommend a trial of monovision with temporary contact lenses before committing to this strategy. Monovision can be achieved using a range of procedures including LASIK, PRK /TransPRK, ICL and RLE.
As an alternative to monovision, patients undergoing refractive lens exchange are able to receive multifocal lens implants (multifocal IOLs). Modern multifocal IOLs have three focal points to improve unaided vision for near (reading) intermediate (computer use) and distance (driving) tasks. RLE with multifocal (or trifocal) IOLs are typically recommended for older patients with higher levels of refractive error which cannot be corrected with laser vision correction procedures like LASIK and PRK.