Presbyopia (presbēˈōpēə) is when the eye exhibits a decreased ability to focus on near objects. This is sometimes jokingly referred to as “Short Arm Syndrome” as one’s reading material must be held further and further away to be able to focus. Almost as a rite of passage into becoming “middle-aged”, this frustrating change in vision is usually proceeded with a dreaded trip to the drug store to pick up multi-packs of “readers” in order to then strategically scatter throughout the house.
Many of our active Southwest Florida residents view increased dependency on glasses as limiting and something that slows them down. Not to mention, they complain that it makes them look older than they feel. To these people, we say “REBEL Against Your Readers!” because, fortunately, there are alternatives.
One option is using a method of Laser Vision Correction, such as LASIK or ASA, to allow one eye to see clearly in the distance and the other eye to see clearly at more of an intermediate range. This is referred to as Blended Vision and we find that this intermediate range is where our presbyopic patients comfortably do the majority of their near vision activity (i.e. using computers and tablets or reading a magazine). While there is a short adaptation period, our remarkable brain has the ability to “blend” these two streams of information together smoothly so that we are not conscious of having a different visual ability in each eye. While most people are candidates for a form of Laser Vision Correction, some extreme hyperopic (farsighted) patients or certain presbyopic patients might benefit more from a Refractive Lens Exchange.
The benefits of a Refractive Lens Exchange can be two-fold: it is able to correct both near and distance vision as well as eliminate the development of cataracts later on in life. The procedure itself is virtually the same as cataract surgery with the eye’s natural crystalline lens being replaced with an artificial intraocular lens.
With both of these options, minimal downtime and quick results allow patients to quickly get back to their busy lives. The most important first step is to find a surgeon trained and qualified to confirm the correct procedure for you and the health of your eyes. Seek out someone !who is fellowship trained in refractive surgery (in other words, specifically trained to help get you out of glasses). There is no one vision correction procedure that is right for everyone, so this training is essential to help weed out patients who may have the possibility of a poor outcome.
While presbyopia may be one of life’s certainties, wearing reading glasses is not. If you’re feeling a little “rebellious”, set up a consultation to meet with Dr. Collins. He’ll personally meet with you to discuss your options and customize a plan to get you back to seeing clearly and doing what you love to do, glasses-free.