The most common reason for needing glasses only for reading at age 45 and over is presbyopia. This is the name given to the loss of ability of the lens of the eye to change focus onto objects close to the eye. Many people describe their arms as not being “long enough” to hold a book at a comfortable reading distance.
In our mid to late 40s, we begin to experience the naturally frustrating effects of blurry near vision. Reading the newspaper, seeing the computer screen or sending a text message becomes a struggle. We end up depending more and more on reading glasses or contact lenses to see up close. This natural loss of reading vision is called presbyopia (prez-bee-OH-pee-ah), and it eventually affects all of us, even if we never needed vision correction before.
There is no current cure for presbyopia, the solutions offered below are designed to allow a suitable level of near vision improvement to reduce your dependence on reading glasses. All these options involve some level of compromise to your binocular vision.
The eye’s natural lens is normally elastic and flexible. It works like a camera lens to automatically adjust and focus our vision. This lets us automatically switch our gaze from something near to something far away. Over time, the lens in your eye begins to stiffen. It can’t bend into the right shapes to bring close objects into clear focus. To compensate, you end up moving objects further away at just the right distance to focus.
Presbyopia continues to progress over time. For example, someone who is 45 may only notice it when trying to read tiny print in low light. However, someone who is 50 may need to use reading glasses many times throughout the day.
Monovision or blended vision. Your dominant eye is corrected for distance with the laser and your non dominant eye is corrected for close range tasks. Whilst still using both eyes together, monovision will allow you to see things clearly in the distance, favouring the dominant eye, whilst still being able to read the newspaper or a menu while out at a restaurant, with the non- dominant eye. You may need some glasses if you want to do fine detailed work at a very close distance eg. cross stitch or reading a novel at close range in bed or if you want perfect distance binocular vision.
The main advantages of monovision are that using modern aspheric monofocal IOLs or toric IOLs usually gives good optical quality without halos, ghosting or glare. With monovision you can still wear glasses that correct both eyes for distance or both eyes for near vision and achieve good optical quality. Achieving monovision with monofocal IOLs or toric IOLs is less costly than using either multifocal, segmented asymmetric Oculentis IOL’s or any type of accommodating IOLs.