Lasik Q & A

Say Bye-Bye to Bifocals with LASIK Surgery

For years, LASIK surgery has been offering people with a variety of eye afflictions the opportunity to see life in a new way…a clearer way. As the technology behind LASIK improves, so do the opportunities it offers. Soon patients with presbyopia--a condition that has thus far been otherwise untreatable—will be able to take advantage of the newest advances in LASIK.

Presbyopia is a condition that traditionally plagues people age 40 and up. It is typified by blurred vision when reading or viewing other things in near proximity. This is due to the increased rigidity of your eye’s naturally aging corneal lens. Their characteristic bifocal lenses easily identify people suffering from presbyopia. Now they can throw your bifocals away!

Nearly 100 million people suffer from this common visual impairment, and as the population ages more people acquire it every year. Due to the growing percentage of people afflicted by presbyopia, the scientific community has been working hard to find a practical treatment for the condition. If you suspect you may be one of the afflicted 100 million, you should schedule an appointment with your ophthalmologist. Common negative side effects of presbyopia include headaches after reading, and eye pain or fatigue associated with eyestrain. If you are having trouble viewing text that is right in front of your face and must move it away to read it clearly, there is a good chance that your eyes have developed presbyopia.

In the past, your ophthalmologist would have prescribed bifocal lenses or progressive eyeglass lenses. Your prescription would strengthen as your eyes continued to weaken. The glasses work by including bifocal lenses. They are called bifocal because they include a split-lens with prescriptions for both nearsightedness and farsightedness. The special construction of your multi-focal lenses allows your eyes to focus on separate points. Progressive lenses work by following the same concept but feature a single lens with a gradually changing prescription, from nearsighted to farsighted, so that there is no visible separation of the prescriptions on the lens. Forget your glasses, and you might as well forget reading.

The newly developed LASIK eye surgery for presbyopia works through a multi-focal procedure that targets the irregularities that cause near and farsightedness. It does this by using laser technology to change the altered corneal shape in zones associated with the ability to focus. This new procedure is still in an experimental stage, but has shown strong potential for significantly improving or even perfecting vision in patients with presbyopia. It has been tentatively named “presby LASIK” because of its direct application to the condition presbyopia. It is also referred to as “multifocal LASIK” because in working to correct both near and farsightedness it follows the same strategy as multifocal (or bifocal) lenses.

Specialists researching presby LASIK have found that correcting parts at the center of the eye’s cornea best treats nearsightedness in some patients. Other patients with nearsightedness have better results from laser corrections done on the eye’s peripheral area. One thing that researchers agree on is that the procedure is most effective in farsighted patients that also have moderate issues with farsightedness. They are working to develop a procedure that effectively corrects both far and nearsightedness at the same time.

Even once presby LASIK is approved by the FDA, you can rest assured that eye surgeons offering the procedure will screen their patients diligently to determine their risk level and will only perform the procedure on the best candidates. Success rates are not available yet, but studies have been yielding consistently promising results, and researchers predict that the surgery will be available soon.

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