“Doctor, I’m tired of wearing eyeglasses and contact lenses, but I can’t see without either.”
Have you ever thought about refractive surgery to minimize your need for eyeglasses and/or contact lenses? Well, when you are younger than 40 years old, you may be able to attain these results. When you are over 40, you may be able to see at distance without glasses/contacts, but may still need corrective eyewear. For those patients who suffer from vanity, there is an option for you, too. Monovision is a form of refractive correction that corrects one eye for distance and one eye for reading. If your brain accepts this transition, it provides a terrific, daily experience.
Refractive surgery is often times used to alleviate the need for corrective eyewear. How? By means of laser, the anterior aspect of the cornea is altered so light is redirected when it transmits through the cornea and lands of the retina. If you are myopic (nearsighted), the cornea is made flatter, so light will move further back and the image will land on the retina. If you are hyperopic (farsighted), the cornea is made steeper, so that when light rays enter the eye, the result is an image that moves closer to the retina. If you are an astigmat, laser alters your oval shaped cornea, and makes it round like a basketball, so your image is no longer out of focus, but clear. The reason why lasik can’t be used to correct near vision in both eyes when you are over 40 is because the the problem is not at the level of the cornea, it involves the natural crystalline lens. As we age, the lens loses its normal function, thus preventing us from being able focus at near adequately. As mentioned earlier, monovision is an option. Again, one for distance, and one eye for near. The benefit to this procedure is the ability to see at each distance without corrective eyewear. The drawback is the loss of depth perception.
Refractive surgery is a great procedure, but patients must know the procedure was designed to alleviate the need for corrective eyewear, not eliminate corrective eyewear completely.
This blog is not intended to provide a full consultation for patients seeking a lasik evaluation. This blog is only for educational purposes. If you have more detailed questions, consult your optometrist or ophthalmologist.