Can LASIK Improve Reading Vision?
Restoring reading vision for adults over age 40 who are experiencing presbyopia is one of the most exciting developments in vision correction surgery.
For people who also have nearsightedness, farsightedness and/or astigmatism, LASIK surgery can correct reading vision problems caused by presbyopia with a technique called monovision where the LASIK surgeon fully corrects the refractive errors in one eye and intentionally leaves the other eye mildly nearsighted. The result: the fully corrected eye sees distant objects very clearly, and the nearsighted eye enables functional near vision without reading glasses.
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If you are considering this option, it's often wise to first try monovision with contact lenses for a short period to make sure you can adapt to the monovision experience before proceeding with monovision LASIK.
Another option is multifocal LASIK a procedure where the laser reshapes the surface of the eye in a fashion that mimics the appearance of bifocal or multifocal contact lenses. Multifocal LASIK can reduce the need for reading glasses, but there's an increased risk of glare and halos after this procedure, which may be difficult to reverse.
Perhaps an even better presbyopia correction surgery than monovision LASIK or multifocal LASIK is corneal inlay surgery. In this procedure, a laser is used to create a small pocket in the center of the cornea, and a tiny optical device (corneal inlay or corneal implant) is then placed in this pocket, which self-seals.
In April 2015, AcuFocus announced the company's Kamra inlay received FDA approval for the surgical treatment of presbyopia in the United States, making it the first corneal implant procedure to gain such approval.
The Kamra device increases the depth of focus of the eye receiving the implant, improving near vision without causing loss of distance vision in the "near eye" that is typical in a monovision LASIK procedure, according to the company.
Other corneal inlays and implants that are in development but are not yet FDA-approved include the Raindrop Near Vision Inlay (ReVision Optics) and the Flexivue Microlens (Presbia).
A corneal inlay procedure can be performed for people who have perfect distance vision without corrective lenses and just need help with presbyopia-related reading vision problems. Or it can be performed some time after LASIK for people who also need vision correction for nearsightedness, farsightedness, and/or astigmatism.
[Page updated September 2016]