What is Monovision and Should I Get It?

As we age, all kinds of wonderful things start happening. Many of us begin wondering if our arms are shrinking because the objects we used to see up close now need to be held at arms’ length to be seen clearly. Not to fear, your arms are probably the same size they used to be. What has changed however, are your eyes.

Beginning around 40-45 years of age, a condition called presbyopia sets in. Presbyopia occurs when the lens inside the eye becomes rigid and loses the ability to change focus. People who have never worn glasses are typically the first to notice changes in their vision. It would seem that a lifetime of perfect vision has finally caught up with them. For those who are nearsighted, a short reprieve is granted during the early stages of presbyopia as they can remove their glasses to see up close. Eventually however, presbyopia will win out and their monofocal lenses will need to be modified to bifocal in order to see clearly.

For those who are nearsighted and wear glasses already, there is an alternative to bifocal lenses. It is called monovision. With monovision, one eye is used for near vision and the other eye is used for distance. This can be achieved either with contact lenses or surgically with such procedures as LASIK and PRK.

With monovision, a contact lens is worn on one eye to correct distance vision and another contact lens of a lesser prescription is worn in the other eye to correct for near vision. The distance vision eye is typically the dominant eye. The brain learns to use one eye for near and the other eye for distance.

The downside of monovision is that some people find that it affects the overall quality of their vision. Depth perception can also be compromised with monovision. Those who desire perfect vision should steer clear of monovision. However, for many it is an excellent compromise.

Before undergoing surgical monovision with LASIK or PRK, a trial run should be conducted with contact lenses to be certain it can be tolerated. It can take several weeks for the brain to adjust to this new way of seeing, so it important to be patient during this period.

Monovision provides a great alternative to bifocal glasses or contact lenses. If you are age 40-45 or are already in bifocals and would like to learn more about your options, contact your eye care provider or Raleigh Eye Center today. For those interested in LASIK or PRK with monovision, an appointment with Dr. James Kiley is the first step to learning which options are best for you.