LASIK after 40 - What Are the Pros and Cons?

A woman wearing reading glassesWhen patients reach their 40s, they may begin to notice a decline in their near vision. To clearly see near objects, such as when reading or viewing photos, they may require reading glasses. Many patients wish to avoid the need for visual aids, and instead look for more permanent treatment options.

Because LASIK has grown dramatically in popularity for the last two decades, many patients in their 40s wonder if the procedure can improve their near vision and eliminate their need for reading glasses. While the LASIK technique can address age-related farsightedness, traditional LASIK is not the appropriate treatment. Instead, patients can undergo monovision LASIK to improve their vision at all distance.

At Primary Eye Care Associates, Dr. Steven Chander can discuss the benefits and drawbacks of LASIK after 40. To schedule your LASIK screening, contact our Chicago, IL practice today.

Presbyopia - Age-related Farsightedness

Patients in their 20s and 30s can undergo traditional LASIK surgery, and experience clear vision at all distances. However, even those patients that have previously undergone LASIK surgery will eventually develop presbyopia.

Presbyopia is an age-related condition that results in poor near vision. The condition typically begins to affect patients when they reach their early 40s. Unlike farsightedness, which also affects near vision and is caused by a flat-shaped cornea, a weakening and hardening of the eye’s lens causes presbyopia. With age, the lens is no longer able to alternate between near and distance vision. As a result, close-up vision gets progressively worse, leading to the need for reading glasses.

The Monovision LASIK Technique

To treat presbyopia, we can perform monovision LASIK, in which one eye is corrected for distance vision and one eye is corrected for near vision. Before undergoing monovision LASIK, we recommend that patients test out monovision with contact lenses to ensure that they feel comfortable with this approach to treatment.

We can prescribe a contact lens that corrects distance vision for the dominant eye, which is typically the eye on the side of the dominant hand. We will also prescribe a contact lens that will produce clear up-close vision in one eye. We recommend that patients wear the monovision contact lenses for several weeks prior to monovision LASIK surgery to be sure that they adjust well to treatment.

If patients are happy with the results of monovision contact lenses, we can perform LASIK surgery to produce full distance vision in the dominant eye, and under correct the other eye to produce clear reading vision.

Alternative Treatment Options

If you decide that monovision LASIK is not right for you, there are other treatment options available to improve your near vision. Most patients opt to wear reading glasses for their up-close vision needs. Other patients that require a permanent vision treatment may be interested in the placement of premium intraocular lenses, which can produce clear vision at all distances. In this procedure, the synthetic lens replaces the natural lens. We use the ReZoom™ lens, which incorporates multiple focal points to provide patients with clear up-close, intermediate, and distance vision.

To find out how you can maintain clear vision after the age of 40, contact Primary Eye Care Associates today.