LASIK After 40: Special Considerations

LASIK After 40: Special Considerations

Laser Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis, or LASIK is the most popular cosmetic procedure performed in the U.S., having helped more than 18 million Americans see clearly since it was approved in 1998. While most people are candidates for the procedure, special considerations must be made as we near and pass 40 years of age.

Beginning around age 40-45 a condition called presbyopia sets in. Presbyopia occurs when the lens inside the eye becomes rigid and loses the ability to change focus. Many patients say they notice that they must extend objects out further in order to see them clearly. This is a symptom of presbyopia.

During a normal LASIK procedure, both eyes are corrected in order to see clearly at distance. The challenge for presbyopic patients is that if their eyes are fully corrected for distance, they will need to wear glasses for reading. This can be disheartening for someone hoping to be completely free of glasses after LASIK.

While LASIK is not going to change the normal aging of the eye, surgeons can diminish the need for reading glasses in presbyopic patients. They achieve this through monovision. With monovision one eye, typically the dominant eye is fully corrected for distance vision. The other eye is partially undercorrected for near vision.

As one could imagine, monovision can take some getting used to. At Raleigh Eye Center, we feel it is important for patients to trial monovision before having LASIK. Patients can do this by wearing monovision contact lenses for a short period of time. As the eyes adjust to monovision, the brain learns to use one eye for near and the other eye for distance.

Sounds like the best of both worlds, doesn’t it? There is a compromise that must be made in order to have both near and far vision after age 40. Some people feel monovision affects the overall quality of their vision. Depth perception can also be compromised somewhat with monovision. Those who desire perfect vision should steer clear of monovision. However, most people feel monovision is an excellent compromise.

If you are considering LASIK and are near or past age 40, talk to our Raleigh LASIK experts to find out if monovision is right for you. An appointment with LASIK surgeon, Dr. James Kiley is the first step to learning which options are best for you.