Presbyopia Correction Surgery
Treatment to Eliminate Reading Glasses
One of the most frustrating things about middle age is experiencing the normal age-related loss of near vision caused by presbyopia.
It's no wonder, then, that many people over age 40 who are interested in LASIK or other refractive surgery are seeking a procedure designed for presbyopia correction.
Laser Presbyopia Surgery
Laser presbyopia correction surgery includes several procedures that restore near vision by reshaping the clear front surface of the eye with an excimer laser. These procedures can be performed on both eyes or on one eye only for a monovision approach to presbyopia correction.
Examples of laser presbyopia correction surgery include:
Monovision LASIK. Currently, monovision LASIK is the most popular vision correction surgery for presbyopia treatment. In this type of presbyopia surgery, one eye is fully corrected for clear distance vision and the other eye is intentionally made mildly nearsighted to reduce the need for reading glasses.
After monovision LASIK, a person relies on one eye for driving and other distance vision tasks, and uses the other eye for computer work and reading. Though this may sound a little strange, after a short adaptation period, monovision typically feels natural and most monovision LASIK patients are pleased with their vision and are significantly less dependent on reading glasses.
Multifocal LASIK. Another type of laser presbyopia surgery that is gaining popularity is multifocal LASIK, also called Presbyopia LASIK or PresbyLASIK. This type of laser surgery for presbyopia correction can be performed on both eyes, or a conventional LASIK procedure can be performed on one eye for clear distance vision and a multifocal LASIK procedure can be performed on the other eye to reduce the need for reading glasses. (This latter type of presbyopia treatment is called modified monovision.)
IntraCor Laser Surgery. In this type of presbyopia surgery, a femtosecond laser is used to create a series of concentric rings in the cornea, which adds magnifying power to the eye for improved near vision. Unlike an excimer laser, which removes tissue from the surface of the eye in a vaporization process called ablation, a femtosecond laser is capable of making changes to the molecular structure within the cornea and thereby reshape the eye without ablating tissue.
Though IntraCor laser surgery is not yet approved for presbyopia treatment in the United States, early studies on other countries show promising results.
Other Presbyopia Correction Surgery
Your eye surgeon also may recommend one of several non-laser eye surgeries for presbyopia treatment. These include:
Conductive Keratoplasty. In conductive keratoplasty (CK), the surgeon uses a hand-held probe to deliver radio frequency waves to several points on the outside of your cornea. The tissue at these points in the peripheral cornea shrinks, increasing the curvature and magnifying power of the eye for better near vision. In most cases, CK (also called NearVision CK) is performed on one eye for a monovision approach to presbyopia treatment.
Corneal implants. Corneal implants and inlays are tiny artificial lenses and other refractive [[def. link]] devices that are implanted within the clear front surface of the eye to reshape the central cornea and provide added magnifying power for reading. Brand names include PresbyLens, Kamra and Flexivue.
Refractive cataract surgery. This is the term used to describe modern cataract surgery when the goal of the procedure is to reduce the patient's need for corrective eyewear (including reading glasses) after the cataract is removed. Usually, refractive cataract surgery involves implantation of a premium refractive intraocular lens (IOL) for presbyopia correction, such as an accommodating IOL or a multifocal IOL.
Refractive lens exchange. Also called RLE, refractive lens exchange is virtually the same procedure as refractive cataract surgery, but instead of removing the eye's natural lens after it has become cloudy due to development of a cataract, the surgeon removes the natural lens while it is still clear for the purpose of reducing the need for eyeglasses or reading glasses. As with refractive cataract surgery, RLE often involves the implantation of premium refractive IOLs designed for presbyopia correction.
Consult a Refractive Surgeon
Because of the growing number of people with presbyopia in the United States and elsewhere, the demand for 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.