Will I Need Reading Glasses After Laser Eye Surgery?
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Will I need reading glasses after laser eye surgery?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions by those hoping to undergo laser eye surgery. Unfortunately the answer isn’t a simple one, as it largely depends on the type of laser eye surgery you’re having, your age, and the rate at which you develop near vision loss – known as presbyopia.
To find out more, book an appointment with our eye specialists and ask for a laser eye surgery consultation.
Living with presbyopia
Are you one of those people always reaching for your reading glasses so that you can look at a menu or see a message on your phone? And if you’ve forgotten your reading glasses, do you find yourself holding the book, device or whatever it might be at arm’s length, squinting in the hope the text might become clear?
This is a reality for so many of us who are experiencing presbyopia. Presbyopia is when the lenses in the eyes becomes less flexible, making it harder to focus on objects that are close.
This is a natural part of the ageing process. So even if you’ve previously had excellent vision and have never needed glasses, you might one day find that your near vision just isn’t as good as it was.
Generally these changes start to happen around the age of 40, although it can occur at any time.
Usually people start to notice that the print is blurry when reading books, newspapers, text messages and menus, especially if the print is small. In a bid to see, they hold the item at a distance, which can help the eye’s ability to focus.
Reading glasses for presbyopia
However, this isn’t much of a solution. Firstly the print will be further away, meaning you still might not be able to read the text. This will be a particular problem if you’re already short sighted!
Secondly your eyes will become increasingly tired, which can lead to headaches, eye strain, and watery eyes.
Which is why so many people who reach middle age have reading glasses. Reading glasses aren’t to be confused with computer glasses, or glasses designed for short-sightedness.
They are to be used specifically when reading something at about arm’s length. They will boost your near vision, helping your eyes to focus on close objects, making things more clear.
But some will find reading glasses to be a bit of a nuisance. It can be hard to remember (or find) your reading glasses every time you want to look at your phone, read a book or go to a restaurant.
And if you already wear glasses, then it’s another pair of glasses that you’ll need to carry round with you. Or you’ll need to get multifocal lenses instead.
If this sounds like a familiar situation, then you might be wondering whether there’s any way you can be free of your reading glasses. Will laser eye surgery do the trick?
Laser eye surgery for presbyopia
Laser eye surgery can help treat both long sightedness and short sightedness. However, the effects of laser eye surgery on presbyopia are a little less clear cut.
The first thing to say is that largely depends on what kind of laser eye surgery you’re having.
If you’re undergoing laser surgery as a means of correcting long sightedness or short sightedness, rather than specifically treating presbyopia, there’s a chance that you’ll no longer need reading glasses afterwards.
Some patients find that their vision has been corrected, and as a by-product of the surgery, their presbyopia has also been cured.
But this won’t be true for everyone. As a general rule, patients over the age of 40 are more likely to continue to need reading glasses after traditional laser eye surgery. Furthermore, no one can prevent the ageing process.
So you might find that while you can ditch those reading glasses immediately after the procedure, your near vision will eventually start to deteriorate in the years to come.
That’s why traditional laser eye surgery is not widely recommended as a treatment for presbyopia alone.
If this is disappointing news to you, then never fear, there are different procedures available that are specifically aimed at treating presbyopia. An eye doctor will be able to suggest the method of treatment that is best for you.
Monovision LASIK for presbyopia
One type of surgery that can help to treat presbyopia is monovision LASIK. This is when the vision in the dominant eye is corrected, but the vision in the non-dominant eye is intentionally made short sighted.
The result is that the non-dominant eye can see close up objects clearly, eliminating the need for reading glasses.
Monovision LASIK usually means that you cannot see distant objects as well, so it’s not without its drawbacks. If you are interested in having this treatment, then it’s a good idea to use monovision glasses or contact lenses first, to make sure you’re able to live with the results.
Other forms of treatment for presbyopia include corneal inlays, conductive keratoplasty, and a refractive lens exchange.
Find out more about laser eye surgery
If you’d like to know more about the different types of laser eye surgery available, and whether or not you could benefit from surgical vision correction, our eye doctors can help you.
If your wish is to rid yourself of reading glasses, we can explain the treatment options available.
Or if you’re interested in laser surgery for long or short sightedness, we can discuss the likely outcome, including whether or not you’ll still need reading glasses after the procedure.
For a laser surgery consultation, book an eye exam with us and we’ll carry out a comprehensive assessment of your eyes. We can then recommend the best way forward and answer any questions that you have.