One of the first signs of mortality? That first time we have difficulty seeing up close and realize “our arms are getting too short.” And it’s cause? Presbyopia. Presbyopia is caused when the eye’s lens, normally soft and flexible, hardens with age and results in blurred reading vision. The hardening of the lens makes it difficult for the eye to focus on close objects. Presbyopia is part of the normal aging process, typically affecting adults at about 40 years of age. Reading glasses and bifocals are used to treat presbyopia. These assist the eyes in focusing on nearby objects. Since presbyopia affects the lens, LASIK Eye Surgery, which only treats the cornea, is unable to correct the condition.
I get many people coming in for LASIK evaluations to help them with their reading problems. After explaining the cause of presbyopia, and telling them LASIK will not help this, our discussion turns to Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE.) Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) works very well for those patients who do not want to wear glasses or contact lenses. RLE involves removing the dysfunctional natural lens and replacing it with a multifocal artificial lens (IOL) that is capable of focusing light near and far. It is the same procedure as cataract surgery, except there is not enough lens changes (cataracts) for insurance to pay for the procedure.
RLE also works quite well on those patients who had refractive surgery in the past to correct their distance vision and are now finding reading glasses to be a chore! Case in point, Sandy, who had RK 18 years ago. She went many years without glasses, but started to wear reading glasses a few years ago. She came to me in June when she started to see a little blurry at both distance and intermediate. I suggested RLE as a permanent correction to all her visual complaints. She sought a few more opinions elsewhere. Her recommendation was to have PRK. I explained that PRK would improve her vision at all distances, but readers would still be needed, and her presbyopia would continue to progress as she go older.
Sandy opted for RLE, here is her story!
Are you getting tired of your readers or bifocals? Maybe RLE is your answer. Why not give us a call to find out if RLE is right for you!