What is Monovision LASIK eye surgery?
The customary goal of laser vision correction is usually stated as, “to reduce or eliminate the need for glasses and contacts”. If you are over 40, you may wonder, “What about reading glasses and near vision problems that occur with age?” For patients over age 40, Monovision (with LASIK, PRK, or contact lenses) may be a great choice. Monovision can help the majority of patients achieve good distance and near vision without glasses. Keep reading if you are trying to figure out if Monovision may be right for you.
After 40, do I still need reading glasses after LASIK?
Presbyopia is a normal age related eye condition in which the natural lens of the eye hardens and loses the ability to “autofocus” for near work. Sooner or later, presbyopia causes a gradual worsening of near vision during the forties.
Whether or not you have LASIK, you can expect to eventually become “presbyopic” during your mid-forties; this is why people begin wearing bifocals, reading glasses, or taking off their distance glasses (if they are nearsighted). Yes, even after LASIK, if you are corrected for perfect distance vision (“Full Distance”) in both eyes, you will eventually need reading glasses for near work.
Though many patients are not opposed to using over-the-counter reading glasses for near work as they age, others truly want to be “glasses-free” for near work. If the mere thought of still needing reading glasses would defeat the point of having LASIK in the first place, you may want to learn about the pros & cons of Monovision.
How Does Monovision LASIK work?
With Monovision, one eye is “set” for distance focus, and the other eye is set for better near focus. Having mild nearsightedness in one eye can help negate the effects of presbyopia and restore/preserve near vision.
Monovision allows a patient to see both distance and near images without glasses by having blended visual focal points.
The goal of Monovision is to be independent of glasses for most day-to-day activities. After Monovision it is realistic to be able to read a menu, do computer work, watch TV, and drive a car legally without glasses.
Is Monovision LASIK right for me?
While Monovision is not a “perfect” solution to presbyopia, for carefully selected patients, it is well tolerated and very satisfactory over 85% of the time. Most patients who choose Monovision are satisfied with both near and far vision without glasses.
Alternatively, about 15% of Monovision patients notice certain tradeoffs, including difficulty with high performance sports or night driving, or with intricate close work.
Monovision may be appropriate for a 50 year-old accountant, but not appropriate for a 50 year-old motorcycle police officer. At Limberg LASIK, our goal is to help patients be satisfied with their vision, for their specific lifestyle and activities, regardless of their age.
Ultimately, deciding between a traditional LASIK (Full Distance correction) and a Monovision correction is an individualized choice that is based on many factors. Accordingly, there is not one “right” answer. After getting to know your goals and lifestyle, we can help guide you to the most appropriate procedure for your specific needs.
Monovision LASIK Advantages
Reasons for considering Monovision (“Blended Vision”) laser vision correction may include:
Age 40 or older
Seeking the convenience of “glasses-free” lifestyle
Being opposed to needing reading glasses for near work
Not active in high performance sports (i.e. tennis, motorcycle riding)
Tried Monovision with contact lenses and liked it
Being “okay” with about the possibility of using distance glasses to fine-tune distance vision for sports or night driving (so both eyes see 20/20).
Or a LASIK re-treatment could “un-do” Monovision at a later date, if desired