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Presbyopia LASIK Surgery: Does It Work?

By Kyle Kirkland
Presbyopia can affect anyone, even if they have perfect vision. We asked the experts if LASIK surgery could treat it.

Presbyopia, also known as “age-related farsightedness,” is a condition that makes it difficult to see things up close. You’ll start to experience it around age 40, and it can progress as you age. Presbyopia is a natural part of aging, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept it. One potential method of treatment for age-related farsightedness is LASIK surgery.

But what is LASIK surgery, and can it treat presbyopia?

LASIK for Presbyopia

LASIK is the more common name for laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, a laser surgery that reshapes a part of the eye (cornea) that helps you focus light and see objects. 

Presbyopia primarily affects your eye’s natural lens. The lens is a muscle that constricts and relaxes, depending on where your eye is focusing. Presbyopia is caused by the hardening of your lens as you age. As your lens hardens, it becomes less flexible and cannot constrict, preventing it from focusing light.

Symptoms of presbyopia include needing to read small print at arm’s length and headaches from reviewing objects up close.

LASIK surgery can treat presbyopia with a method called monovision. Monovision is “a procedure in which the dominant eye is corrected for farsightedness and the other eye corrected for nearsightedness,” Robert Dinga, OD, tells WebMD Connect to Care.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, monovision changes your eyes so one is used for looking at close objects and the other sees distant objects. Your brain learns to adapt your vision based on what you’re focusing on.

When weighing the pros and cons of LASIK, many consider how much money they’ll need to spend on the procedure. In addition to the cost, you should consider how your eyes will function after the surgery. 

“If you're presbyopic and considering LASIK, your doctor should give you a contact lens trial for monovision before performing the procedure,” Yuna Rapoport, MD, tells WebMD Connect to Care. “This trial will imitate the final result after LASIK. Most people adjust to the monovision perfectly, but there is a chance that you will feel off-balanced, and it is important to try it out in a trial first.”

When the eyes are corrected, it “minimizes the need for glasses at all distances,” Rapoport says. “If a presbyopic patient does not care about wearing glasses at a particular distance, then the distance vision can be corrected where the patient will still need to wear reading glasses.”

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