As we get older, our reading vision deteriorates. Is this something we just have to live with? Or could laser eye surgery improve reading vision issues?
Let’s find out.
Loss of reading vision and other close-up vision is called presbyopia. It’s also sometimes referred to as ageing eyes.
So what causes this loss of near distance vision?
A flexible lens sits at the front of the eye. The elasticity of this lens allows it to adapt, helping us to see things clearly whether they’re near to us or far away.
As we get older, this lens starts to lose its flexibility. Your distance vision isn’t affected by presbyopia. However, your close-up vision will start to deteriorate. Presbyopia is a natural symptom of ageing and it happens to everyone.
Even if you’ve never had vision problems before, as you get older you’ll find yourself needing reading glasses or some other kind of vision treatment.
Presbyopia affects pretty much everyone over the age of 45. You may begin to experience symptoms from the age of 40 and symptoms are usually pronounced by the time you get to 60.
Presbyopia is a gradual process so you might not notice it at first. However, there are a number of symptoms you can look out for. Key presbyopia symptoms include:
If you think you have the symptoms of presbyopia, you’re probably wondering what you can do about it. Here are the key solutions and treatments available.
Many people with presbyopia resort to reading glasses. Reading glasses use magnification to help you focus at short distances.
You can pick up an inexpensive pair of reading glasses from most chemists. They come in a variety of strengths.
You should test out a few different strengths and choose the lowest strength that successfully improves your close-up vision.
Off the shelf reading glasses aren’t for everyone. They don’t always fit very well and it can be hard to choose the correct strength for your vision.
Going to an optician is another option. Here you can have your eyes professionally tested and get a prescription for exactly the kind of glasses you need.
If you have myopia as well as presbyopia, you may need to start wearing bifocal or varifocal glasses.
If you’ve never had to wear glasses before, they can feel like an inconvenience.
When you’re wearing glasses for presbyopia, you’ll inevitably spend a lot of time taking them on and off when focusing on objects at different distances.
For those who want to improve their close-range vision without having to wear glasses, eye surgery is another good solution. The primary eye surgery offered for presbyopia is lens replacement. During this surgery, the eye’s natural lenses are replaced with artificial lenses.
One eye lens is replaced to maximise distance vision. The other is replaced to maximise close-up vision. This is referred to as a monovision approach.
The idea is that the brain can combine images captured by each eye to achieve good distance and close-up vision.
However, this isn’t possible for everyone. Sometimes the brain just can’t adapt to each eye working independently.
Luckily, if you’re not suitable for lens replacement and don’t want to wear glasses, there’s one more presbyopia solution to consider – laser eye surgery for reading vision.
Some clinics provide surgery for presbyopia called PRESBYOND® Laser Blended Vision. This treatment is most suited to younger patients – those in their mid-40s and early 50s.
During laser surgery, one eye is treated to view objects at a distance. The other is treated to see objects close up. But the effect is different to monovision.
The treatment of each eye is tapered, meaning there is an overlap at middle differences. This overlap makes it easier for your brain to piece the two images together.
Following laser eye surgery for reading vision, you should be able to switch between close-up and distance focus seamlessly.
If surgery is successful, you won’t have to wear glasses for a number of years. You may even be able to avoid wearing them altogether.
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