Presbyopia (sometimes called age-related focus dysfunction) occurs when the lens and muscles of the eye lose some of the strength and flexibility needed to focus on near objects. Eventually, nearly everyone develops some degree of presbyopia. It’s why most people need reading glasses or bifocals at some point in their lives.
Advanced techniques for presbyopia treatment make it easier than ever to correct presbyopia permanently-often making it possible to see without glasses, including reading glasses.
There are two major types of presbyopia treatment-both are surgical procedures. Your specific medical needs and personal preferences will determine which is right for you.
Presbyopia Laser Vision Correction (also called LASIK monovision) corrects one eye to focus on far objects, while the other is corrected to focus on near objects. Your brain learns to coordinate the two images, so you have both far and near vision. If you also have some refractive error (like nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism), it can be addressed at the same time-often allowing you to see without glasses or reading glasses.
Presbyopia Lens Replacement Surgery (also called refractive lens exchange) replaces the natural lens in your eye with an advanced artificial lens, called an intraocular lens or IOL. It corrects presbyopia and cataracts at the same time, so you won’t have to have another surgery later in life. You can usually also correct nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism at the same time, as well, so that you will be able to see without glasses or reading glasses.
Finding the right presbyopia treatment for you
Here are a few special guidelines for choosing the right presbyopia treatment for you:
Both presbyopia treatment surgeries are widely practiced and are among the safest and most effective surgical procedures performed today. Talk with your eye doctor about which presbyopia treatment is right for you.
Not sure what a particular term means? Click on words in bold to pull up the glossary tab.
Presbyopia and cataracts are separate conditions. However, both conditions occur slowly over time, so many people develop both conditions as they get older.
Cataracts and presbyopia are both associate with age and, for the most part, are considered unavoidable. However, certain factors seem to be related to cataract development including exposure to high intensities of ultraviolet light, physical injuries to the eye, smoking and tobacco use, and treatment with some medications such as oral steroids and others. Diseases, such as diabetes, have a relationship to cataracts as well. Studies are emerging that link nutrition with the onset cataracts, as well, but talk with your doctor before using any new dietary supplements.
The formulas used for calculating the power of the intraocular lenses (IOLs) used during cataract surgery or any other lens replacement surgery are reasonably accurate, but not necessarily as precise as those used for computing advanced laser-based vision correction treatments.
Common vision problem and type of refractive error. Caused by either irregularity in the curvature of the cornea or the lens of the eye. People with astigmatism generally have difficulty seeing fine details at all distances. Treated with corrective lenses, laser vision correction or toric IOLs.
Eye glasses that combine two lenses made for focusing at different distances. Typically the upper lens provides clear distance vision and the lower lens clear close vision for reading and seeing fine details.
Clouding of the eye's lens that blocks passage of light to the retina, resulting in impaired vision. Often a result of normal aging, cataracts form when protein clumps cloud areas of the eye's lens. As the cataract progresses, vision worsens and often requires surgical replacement of the damaged lens with an artificial one.
Farsighted, farsightedness (or hyperopia)
Common vision problem and type of refractive error. Caused by too little curvature of the cornea or too little distance between the front of the eye and the retina at the back. Both structural defects cause light entering the eye to focus incorrectly on the retina, resulting in blurred close-up vision. Treated with corrective lenses, laser vision correction or multifocal or accommodative IOLs.
Intraocular lens (IOL)
Artificial lens made of plastic, silicone or acrylic. Designed to be implanted in the eye in place of or in front of the natural lens to improve focus and correct vision problems, such as cataracts and presbyopia.
LASIK surgery to correct vision so that one eye focuses clearly on far objects and the other eye focuses clearly on near objects. The brain combines the two images to create clear vision at all distances.
The transparent disc behind the pupil that brings light into focus on the retina. As the eye ages, the lens often becomes cloudy and is called a cataract.
Nearsighted, nearsightedness (or myopia)
Common vision problem and type of refractive error. Caused by either too much curvature of the cornea or too much distance between the front of the eye and the retina at the back. Both structural defects cause light entering the eye to focus incorrectly on the retina, resulting in blurred distance vision. Treated with corrective lenses, laser vision correction or multifocal or accommodative IOLs.
Irregularities in the cornea, lens or shape of the eye that prevent correct focus at any distance.