Dr. Jeffery J. Machat: Hello! I am Dr. Jeff Machat, Medical Director of Crystal Clear Vision. Today I am going to discuss why reading glasses are necessary after a LASIK procedure.
Everyone will start to need reading glasses between the ages of 40 and 50. Presbyopia is the natural loss of strength of our focusing muscles that occurs with age, and the reduced flexibility of the lens inside our eye. Everyone develops presbyopia whether they have LASIK or not and will need reading glasses at around the age 45, even if they have never worn glasses before. LASIX simply makes people normally sightedness by reshaping the curvature of their cornea to correct their nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. It has no affect on the focusing muscles inside the eye. Having LASIX will not prevent presbyopia from occurring, and it may actually speed it up by improving the sharpness of your distance vision. The better you see far away, the more the focusing muscles must work to read up close. There are a few options available to those trying to avoid this; some available now; some on the horizon. The first and most talked about is monovision. With either LASIX or contact lenses, one eye is corrected fully for sharp distance vision, while the fellow eye is left just a little bit nearsighted to maintain some near vision. While the eyes are not balanced, the brain focuses on the distance or the near eye, depending upon the activity being performed at the time. Monovision is a good compromise for many people, but not accepted by all. The next option is a multifocal LASIK correction. This pattern is similar to what is done with glasses, contact lenses, and even with cataract surgery lenses. Both distance and near correction images are visible to the retina simultaneously from the same eye, and the brain learns to focus on the image needed. This technique has been in development for almost a decade, works well for about 80%, 85% of patients, but the biggest issue is that it's very difficult to reverse if the patient cannot tolerate the multiple images. It is still not available in the United States. The last and most exciting option on the horizon is the Kamra reading Corneal Inlay from AcuFocus, which is a very small, extremely thin disc that is inserted in the cornea using a laser procedure. The Kamra Inlay works based upon the pinhole effect and increases the depth of focus in one eye, improving reading vision, while preserving distance vision. The results still show that only about 85% of people get the reading vision results they are looking for, but the best aspect of the Kamra Inlay is that it is a reversible procedure since the implant can be removed. This procedure is also not approved in the United States at this time, but it is approved in Canada, Europe, Asia, Australia, and South America. So those are just a few options to help you avoid reading glasses as you age.