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Does LASIK Cure Presbyopia?

Presbyopia is a common age-related condition that affects the eye’s ability to focus on close objects. As people age, typically starting in their 40s, the natural lens of the eye becomes less flexible, making it difficult to see things up close. This can lead to the need for reading glasses or bifocals. Many wonder if LASIK, a popular laser eye surgery for vision correction, can cure presbyopia.

Understanding Presbyopia

Presbyopia occurs when the lens inside the eye loses its flexibility. This flexibility is essential for focusing on objects at varying distances. As the lens hardens, it can no longer change shape as easily, resulting in blurry vision when looking at close objects. Symptoms include difficulty reading small print, needing to hold reading materials farther away, and eye strain or headaches after prolonged periods of close work.1

Why LASIK Isn’t a Cure for Presbyopia

LASIK, or laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, is a well-known procedure for correcting nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. It reshapes the cornea to improve how light is focused on the retina. While LASIK can significantly enhance vision at a single distance (either near or far), it does not address the loss of flexibility in the lens caused by presbyopia. This means that while LASIK can reduce dependence on glasses for distance vision, it doesn’t eliminate the need for reading glasses or other solutions for close-up tasks.

Additionally, patients who have had LASIK earlier in life will still develop presbyopia as they age. The natural aging process of the lens affects everyone, regardless of previous vision correction surgeries.

Monovision LASIK: An Alternative Solution

For those looking to reduce their dependence on reading glasses, monovision LASIK or PRK is an option. In this procedure, one eye is corrected for distance vision, and the other is corrected for near vision. This allows the brain to adapt and use each eye for different tasks. While monovision LASIK can be a solution for some, it may not be suitable for everyone due to potential issues with depth perception and overall visual clarity. Additionally, the lens of the eye will continue to harden, so even monovision patients will eventually need reading glasses or bifocals for clear near vision.

Refractive Lens Exchange: A Definitive Solution

Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) is a surgical procedure that offers a more comprehensive solution for presbyopia. During RLE, the eye’s natural lens is replaced with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL). This IOL can be a multifocal or accommodating lens designed to provide clear vision at multiple distances, effectively addressing presbyopia.

Benefits of RLE for Presbyopia:

  • Long-lasting Solution: Unlike monovision LASIK, RLE provides a lasting solution for presbyopia and vision at multiple ranges.
  • Reduced Dependence on Glasses: RLE can significantly reduce or even eliminate the need for reading glasses.
  • Versatility: RLE can also correct other vision issues such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism, making it a versatile option.

Take Control of Your Vision

In summary, while LASIK is a powerful tool for correcting certain vision problems, it is not a cure for presbyopia. Monovision LASIK offers a potential fix by correcting one eye for near vision and the other for distance vision, but it may not be ideal for everyone. Refractive Lens Exchange provides a definitive solution by addressing the root cause of presbyopia and offering clear vision at all distances.

For personalized advice and to explore your options for presbyopia treatment, schedule a consultation with Skyline LASIK in Colorado Springs, CO. Our experienced team can help you take control of your vision and achieve the clarity you deserve.

1American Academy of Ophthalmology. What is Presbyopia? Available: Accessed June 18, 2024.