Reading vision correction

Why do we need reading glasses as we get older?

Nearly everyone over the age of forty has some degree of long-sightedness. “Old-age” long sightedness is called presbyopia and occurs because the lens of the eye becomes thicker and less flexible with age.

The eye sees by allowing light to pass through the lens and focus on the retina. To see at close range, we need the lens of our eye to be flexible enough to change to a rounder shape so that light is focused sharply on the retina. However, as we get older, our lenses thicken and become less flexible, making it more difficult for us to read and see near objects clearly.

Laser eye surgery to treat presbyopia

Laser Eye Surgery to treat Presbyopia

Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to use laser eye surgery to correct presbyopia.

LASIK eye surgery is usually used to correct either long or short sightedness. It works by sculpting the cornea and changing its shape, so that light focuses accurately on the retina, enabling you to see clearly. However, with presbyopia, if both eyes are corrected for distance vision, the near vision remains a problem. So instead, our London eye surgeon adjusts the dominant eye for distance and the non-dominant eye for reading and near vision. This treatment is called blended vision.

The brain takes a short while to adjust to the eyes having different focal distances, but once it does, most people don’t even notice the difference.

Refractive lens exchange

Where laser eye surgery is not suitable, refractive lens exchange may be the most appropriate method for correcting presbyopia.

During refractive lens exchange, the natural lens is replaced with a new, customised lens which corrects your prescription. The artificial lens is made from an acrylic or silicone compound. A small incision is made and the natural lens is removed using a sophisticated ultrasound probe. The lens capsule is left in place to house the new, synthetic lens which the surgeon inserts through the incision. The synthetic lens can be either mono-focal or multifocal depending on individual requirements.

Which procedure is best for me?

LASIK is usually the best procedure, and, wherever possible, we offer it to patients with presbyopia. However, in some cases, refractive lens exchange is a better solution than blended vision for treating presbyopia.

If you have had laser eye surgery before, your corneas might be too thin for the LASIK procedure.
If you were already long sighted when you were younger and are now also suffering the effects of presbyopia, LASIK might not be the most effective option.

In either of these cases, refractive lens exchange (RLE) would be the better treatment. Our expert team will examine you and take a full history before recommending the best treatment for your eyes.