Laser Presbyopia Surgery
Laser Treatment to Help Reading Vision
Laser presbyopia surgery is any of a group of refractive surgery procedures that use an excimer laser to reshape the eye and restore near vision that is lost due to normal age-related changes in the lens inside the eye (presbyopic condition).
LASIK and other laser vision correction procedures such as PRK, Epi-LASIK and LASEK can be modified to become presbyopia laser surgery.
What all presbyopia laser correction surgeries have in common is that they reshape the cornea and therefore generally are safe, minimally invasive procedures. Some may involve the use of a femtosecond laser to create a flap in the cornea prior to the surgeon using an excimer laser to reshape the underlying corneal tissue.
A femtosecond laser, unlike excimer lasers that remove tissue from the surface of the eye in a vaporization process called ablation, is capable of making changes to the molecular structure within the cornea and can reshape the eye or make incisions in the cornea without ablating tissue.
Monovision LASIK – Blended Vision
Monovision LASIK (also known as blended vision) currently is the most popular presbyopia laser surgery. Standard LASIK, all-laser LASIK and custom LASIK can be adapted to create a monovision laser presbyopia correction.
In monovision LASIK, one eye is fully corrected to provide clear distance vision, and the other eye is treated to intentionally leave the eye mildly nearsighted to reduce the need for reading glasses.
Generally, people who can adapt to monovision contact lenses usually adapt well to monovision LASIK. Most surgeons prefer that people considering monovision LASIK first try monovision with contact lenses for a period of time to make sure they are satisfied with monovision and can function well with this mode of vision correction.
Though monovision adequately corrects presbyopia for most people who try it, there are some compromises. Some people find correcting one eye for near makes their binocular distance vision unacceptably blurred, especially when driving at night or performing other tasks in low-light conditions. Others may find that monovision doesn't offer enough magnification for reading relatively small print.
For these reasons, it is best to try monovision with contacts before committing to more permanent monovision with LASIK.
Monovision LASIK has been available in the United States since July 2007, when Abbott Medical Optics (AMO) became the first surgical equipment manufacturer to receive FDA approval for an excimer laser platform to provide monovision laser presbyopia surgery.
Multifocal LASIK works on the same principle as multifocal contact lenses. Concentric rings of different power are created in the cornea in this type of laser presbyopia surgery to provide good vision at all viewing distances without glasses.
Multifocal LASIK offers a couple advantages over multifocal contact lenses: It eliminates the need for daily contact lens care and the ongoing expenses of purchasing replacement contact lenses and lens care solutions.
Also, multifocal LASIK may provide more stable comfort and vision, since there is no worry about contact lenses drying out on the eye or becoming less clear due to an accumulation of protein deposits or other debris on the surface of the lenses.
The terms multifocal LASIK and PresbyLASIK are often used interchangeably.
IntraCor Laser Surgery
IntraCor laser surgery is a relatively new laser presbyopia correction procedure that involves the use of a femtosecond laser to alter the curvature of the cornea and add magnifying power to the eye for improved near vision.
The IntraCor laser treatment takes place entirely within the cornea, without the need to create a LASIK-style corneal flap or remove the outer layer of the cornea (as in PRK).
On March 9, 2010, LenSx Lasers announced Stephen G. Slade, MD, (Houston, Texas) performed the first laser cataract surgery in the United States, using the FDA-approved LenSx femtosecond laser.
IntraCor laser presbyopia surgery is not yet FDA-approved for use by refractive surgeons in the United States, but the procedure has shown promising results in early studies of laser presbyopia correction conducted in Europe and South America.
[Read more about IntraCor laser surgery.]
Consult a Refractive Surgeon
Because of the growing number of people with presbyopia in the United States and elsewhere, the demand for laser presbyopia correction surgery is increasing rapidly, and new surgical procedures are being developed and tested worldwide.
For the latest information about approved laser and non-laser presbyopia surgery, schedule a consultation with a refractive surgeon near you.
Note: This information is for general education purposes only. It is not to be used as a substitute for medical advice from your eye doctor or refractive surgeon.