Patients typically undergo laser eye surgery to reduce or completely eliminate their need for visual aids such as contact lenses and glasses. The truth is that most patients will eventually require reading glasses at some point in their future. Laser eye surgery effectively treats farsightedness, a refractive error that results in blurry near vision and the need for reading glasses. It also treats nearsightedness, a condition which causes distance vision to be blurry. Traditional laser eye surgery does not treat presbyopia, an age-related condition that also causes blurry near vision and the need for reading glasses.
Laser eye surgery makes changes to the cornea, located in the front of your eye. Presbyopia causes natural and normal changes in the lens, located in the back of your eye.
Farsightedness and Reading Glasses
Farsightedness is a condition that is caused by a misshapen cornea. In a patient with 20/20 vision, the cornea has a round shape that reflects light directly onto the retina. In a farsighted patient, the cornea is either too flat or too short, which causes light to reflect behind the retina. As a result, farsighted patients have difficulty seeing near objects.
When a skilled surgeon such as Dr. Cole performs laser eye surgery on a farsighted patient, clear vision at all distances can be achieved. For patients in their 20s and 30s, they can expect to see clearly without the need for reading glasses for many years to come.
Presbyopia and Reading Glasses
Presbyopia is an age-related condition that typically develops when patients are in their 40s. This condition will eventually affect all patients, including those who have undergone laser eye surgery. Presbyopia occurs when the interior lens thickens and loses flexibility, making it difficult for patients to focus on near objects. Because this condition is unrelated to the shape of the cornea, traditional laser eye surgery has no effect on it. To treat presbyopia, patients must wear reading glasses when viewing close objects or undergo a surgical procedure such as Refractive Lens Exchange, intraocular lens implant or Monovision LASEK.