There is a saying that there are only two things guaranteed in life: death and taxes. However, a decline in your reading vision really should be added to this list. If you are over the age of 45, you have likely or will very soon experience a decline in your near vision. It starts by holding the menu a little farther away, and the next thing you know, you are increasing the font size on your smart phone, and trying on readers at the local drugstore. Fortunately, this is 2015 and the technology for laser vision correction for reading, has been invented, improved and reinvented!
You likely are not interested in wearing reading glasses. So what are your options to correct reading vision? There are three surgical options commonly recommended by ophthalmologists to improve your reading vision (and distance if necessary).
Monovision LASIK is a tried and true procedure with proven results for reading vision correction. Monovision corrects one eye to focus up-close, as a reading vision correction solution, and your dominant eye will provide your distance vision (If necessary, you can correct distance vision as well on the dominant eye). This sounds a little crazy but the brain and eyes are extremely powerful when they work together. Trained reputable ophthalmologists who perform this type of laser vision correction for reading always require the patient to do a “test drive” utilizing contact lenses. This enables you to determine if you are comfortable with this solution. With monovision, you can basically “select” the reading vision correction that best suits your needs by adjusting the power of the single contact lens.
- Ideal Candidates: Patients between the ages of 40 and 60 who are looking for reading vision correction or looking for near and distance vision correction.
- Non-Ideal Candidates: Patients who want or require either their reading vision or distance vision to be perfect. One example would be golfers. They prefer to have the best possible distance vision to follow the ball, which makes them less than ideal candidates for monovision.
In April 2015, one manufacturer, Kamra, received FDA approval for the Kamra corneal inlay as a solution for a decline in reading vision. However, there are a few other inlays awaiting FDA approval. Why are there multiple manufacturers and approvals? Corneal inlay operated on different principals, and one inlay may not be right for everyone. Additionally, a corneal inlay may not be the best solution for everyone. Generally speaking, a corneal inlay is ideal for patients over Vision 20 the age of 45 who have seen a decline in their reading vision but have perfect or near perfect distance vision. Only an ophthalmologist who has been trained can perform the Karma corneal inlay, typically a LASIK surgeon, as the procedure requires the same lasers that are used to perform LASIK surgery. Unlike monovision laser vision correction for reading, the inlay is actually a device that is implanted into the eye, and it is always only a one eye procedure.
- Ideal Candidates: Patients looking for reading vision correction only with nearly perfect distance vision and no previous laser vision correction surgery.
- Non-ideal Candidates: Patients who need to correct both distance & near vision or who have already had some type of laser vision correction surgery (RK, PRK, LASIK).
Some LASIK surgeons recommend lens implant surgery like Restor©, Rezoom© or Crystalens© for reading vision correction. These solutions can be excellent for patients who have cataracts or the onset of cataracts. All of these procedures (simply different manufacturers) are cataract procedures where your lens is removed and a synthetic lens is implanted in your eye. If you do not have the onset of cataracts, this procedure is likely not the best solution for you. It is fairly evasive and expensive. Additionally, most doctors would agree that if you have a healthy part of your body (in this case the lens), then you should keep it for as long as possible before replacing it with something synthetic.
- Ideal Candidates: Patients with cataracts or the onset of cataracts typically in their late 60s or early 70s who are looking for distance and reading vision correction.
- Non-Ideal Candidates: People between the ages of 40 and 60 with healthy lenses who are likely ideal candidates for another form of laser vision correction for reading and distance.
When considering laser vision correction for reading or distance, it is important to research all of your options before choosing your procedure and your surgeon. Not every laser eye surgery is right for every vision problem.