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Sudden Need For Reading Glasses After Lasik, Bladeless Lasik, PRK, etc.

The effect of full distance correction in older patients may have surprising, and undesired, results.

Image of man looking over reading glasses.  
Even if you didn't need reading glasses before, you might need them after Lasik.  

There are two ways to look at myopia (nearsighted, shortsighted) vision. One is that you cannot see things far away very well. The other is that you can see things close very well.

Near & Distance Vision Accommodation

When a normal sighted person looks at something distant, the natural lens of the eye relaxes to its normal shape. When that same person looks at something close, the muscles around the lens stretch or squeeze the lens to change its focus. This change of the lens shape for close vision is called accommodation.

Someone who is myopic has a lens with a normal shape that focuses on things close. To see something close, accommodation is not necessary; the lens is already set to focus on things close. As we mature, the natural lens in our eye expands, firms, and loses its ability to accommodate. This normal condition is known as presbyopia and becomes problematic for most people between 40 and 60 years of age.

Presbyopia Masked by Myopia

Presbyopia may not be noticed in a myopic person because the need for accommodation is diminished by the myopia. Presbyopia can be masked by myopia. The lens may be unable to accommodate, but since the lens is already focused for close vision and the corrective lenses take care of the myopia, the lack of accommodation is not so well noticed.

When a person has refractive surgery to remove all of the myopia, suddenly the lens is expected to accommodate. Since accommodation has not been as much of an issue before refractive surgery, the muscles may be weak. The stiffness of the lens was not an issue before, but now this stiffness reduces the amount of accommodation possible to change from distant to close vision. This is what is often called "Sudden Presbyopia".

Dealing With Presbyopia

There are a number of ways to deal with the focusing changes and challenges caused by presbyopia. People with a small amount of residual nearsightedness can simply remove their glasses to read. Some may need to use reading glasses for close work such as reading, using a computer, or sewing. Bifocals and trifocals can also be used to provide both near and far vision correction without having to constantly put on and take off a pair of glasses or switch between two pairs of glasses. Monovision can help by providing one eye focused for near vision and one eye focused for distance vision. The brain will combine the two images to create one focused image of near and far.

Looking For Best Lasik Surgeon?

If you are ready to choose a doctor to be evaluated for conventional or custom wavefront Lasik, Bladeless Lasik, PRK, or any refractive surgery procedure, we recommend you consider a doctor who has been evaluated and certified by the USAEyes nonprofit organization. Locate a USAEyes Evaluated & Certified Lasik Doctor.

Personalized Answers

If this article did not fully answer your questions, use our free Ask Lasik Expert patient forum.

Recent Lasik and Presbyopia Medical Journal Articles...

Related Articles

[Laser Blended Vision for presbyopia: Results after 3 years].

J Fr Ophtalmol. 2015 Apr 21;

Authors: Falcon C, Norero Martínez M, Sancho Miralles Y

PURPOSE: Retrospective study of the first 173 patients with presbyopia who underwent LASIK with a non-linear aspheric ablation profile and micro-monovision for the correction of presbyopia with myopia, astigmatism, hyperopia or emmetropia: Laser Blended Vision(®) Program by Carl Zeiss Meditec(®) (Jena, Germany).
METHODS: We retrospectively studied the first consecutive 173 patients with presbyopia who underwent LASIK with the wavefront-guided Laser Blended Vision(®) Program by Zeiss(®) in our Excimer Laser Zeiss Mel-80 by Carl Zeiss Meditec(®) (Jena, Germany) over the last three years in our clinic (Optima Laser Clinic, Valence, Spain). The program has a non-linear aspheric ablation profile that increases the spherical aberration in both eyes. A slight myopia of -1.5 diopters (D) in the non-dominant eye is also programmed. We analysed the results and patient satisfaction. The patients were separated into two groups: less than 50 years old and 50 years or more. Follow-up was from 1 to 28 months. We also separated two groups: follow-up under 12 months and follow-up of 12 months or more. We analysed the efficacy, safety and predictability of the procedure.
RESULTS: Seventy-nine male and 94 female patients between 42 and 69 years old were studied, for a total of 337 eyes. Only eight patients (4.62%) were between 42 and 44; 55 (31.79%) were between 45 and 49; 110 patients (63.58%) were 50 years or more. Nine patients underwent the surgery in the non-dominant eye only. Twelve (6.94%) patients were emmetropic (0.5 or less spherical equivalent), 42 (24.28%) were myopic or myopic astigmatic, and 119 (68.79%) were hyperopic or hyperopic astigmatic. One hundred and thirty-six patients (78.61%) had pre-operative near vision between J4 and J10. One hundred and seventy-one patients (98.84%) had post-operative near vision between J1 and J3; 150 (86.7%) had J1 (efficacy). Post-operative visual acuity without correction for distance was 20/20 or better in 159 patients (91.91%) (binocular). The predictability within 0.5 D was 87.86%. Safety 99.7% (336/337 eyes): one eye of a diabetic patient lost two lines BCVA. A total of 93.64% were satisfied with the procedure, 2.89% used eye-glasses for certain activities, 1.73% reported dry eye, 0.58% reported a nonspecific lack of adaptation, and there were no serious complications; 3.47% did not achieve their expectations. Twenty-four patients (13.87%) needed an enhancement, 18 of them (75.5%) for only one eye, with 88.89% of these being the non-dominant eye. Forty-nine patients (28.32%) had over 12 months follow-up, with 95.92% still satisfied.
CONCLUSIONS: Laser Blended Vision(®) is an excellent option, well tolerated, stable and effective for patients with presbyopia and myopia, astigmatism, hyperopia or emmetropia, also avoiding an intraocular procedure.

PMID: 25910743 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]


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