You don’t need to suffer with reading glasses, vari-focals or bi-focals
Squinting when trying to read fine print, holding the newspaper farther and farther away from your face, avoiding labels on products when shopping — sound familiar?
To anyone who’s suffering from presbyopia, the term for loss of near focusing ability that typically occurs in your mid-forties, these symptoms may sound all too familiar.
Whether after a discussion with your optician, or self-diagnosis and treatment, the first step many people try is often a simple pair of reading glasses. As you may have discovered for yourself, many individuals quickly realize this is far from an ideal solution.
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Sure, they help get the job done, when you can find where you last put them. The majority of complaints with reading glasses stem from convenience and cosmetics. Because reading glasses are meant only for near tasks they need to be put on and taken off dozens of times a day. The alternative is to purchase a pair of bifocals or varifocals so that you can see distance through the top of the lens and read through the bottom of the lens. This brings us to the cosmetic issue, as some feel that glasses “age” them and do not want to be seen putting on glasses to read.
A second option for patients would be to try contact lenses. There are a variety of contact lenses which are designed to help with reading vision. These include “monovision” in which one eye is set to see far away and the other eye is set to read, and “multifocality” in which the lens splits the light coming into the eye to provide some light that is focused for distance and some light focused for reading.
Contact lenses can provide a greater freedom from glasses but come with their own downsides. The biggest problem with contact lenses is the lack of comfort. Because the lens sits on the surface of the eye, it can cause dryness and irritation. For some patients, this can be alleviated by using rewetting drops throughout the day. For others it makes wearing the lenses impossible. A 2016 contact lens survey of 1,000 wearers found that 46% of people dropping out of contact lenses are between the ages of 45 and 64 years, which is the exact time when they are needed most to help with reading vision.
The greater risk with contact lenses is a sight-threatening infection. According to scientific studies, the risk of such an infection is 1 in 500 for extended wear contact lenses, which is actually higher than the risk of undergoing laser eye surgery. This risk goes down by a factor of five to 1:2,500 for daily disposable lenses which is much better, but still not as safe as with laser eye surgery. The good news is that whether you have just started browsing for solutions or you have long put up with the annoyances of glasses or contact lenses there is another option for you.
Finally, a solution to improved reading vision
Thanks to the advancement of Laser Eye Surgery and a revolutionary presbyopia treatment known as Laser Blended Vision, restoring a more natural and full range of vision is a possibility.
Traditionally the only option for laser treatment of presbyopia was monovision, similar to that which you can achieve with contact lenses. While this is a good option for some patients the same problem still arises as with contact lenses. Because one eye is set only for distance and one eye only for reading, patients can experience certain parts of the vision as being blurry; such as intermediate vision like computer distance. However, Laser Blended Vision treatment allows the eyes to continue to work after together after treatment, giving a more natural “range of vision” compared to traditional monovision.
Of course, as we have not discovered how to halt or reverse the ageing process, presbyopia will continue to progress, so some patients may need to have a retreatment years later to “fine tune” the vision. With that being said, many patients will never have to pick up a pair of glasses or contacts again, experiencing years or even decades of clear, high-quality vision.
How we correct our vision is changing. No longer do you need to depend on external appliances and aids to get you through the day; you can simply upgrade your existing hardware.