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Combating Presbyopia

By: Heather Marshall - Updated: 29 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Presbyopia surgery laser contact

If you have Presbyopia it is easy to treat. As long as you do not have any other eye health problems, you may only need to wear glasses for reading. Reading glasses work by helping to bend or refract the light more effectively so you can see close up objects more clearly and more comfortably.

Some people prefer to wear progressive lenses or bifocals which enable you to see both close objects and those in the distance without having to remove your reading glasses.

Contact lenses can also treat presbyopia using a technique called monovision. A different strength lens is placed in each eye. One eye is adjusted for distance vision and the other eye is adjusted for reading and near vision. It is then possible to wear contact lenses for all activities.

If you have another eye condition such as short-sightedness or long-sightedness your optician will usually prescribe bifocal or progressive lenses. However you could choose to have two different types of glasses to wear for different activities.

Laser Treatment

Presbyopia cannot be treated with Laser surgery. Laser treatment changes the shape of the cornea and as presbyopia is a condition which affects the lens of the eye, surgery to the cornea will not correct it.

Clear Lens Replacement Surgery

Surgery is growing in popularity for people with presbyopia. It involves removing the lens and replacing it with a synthetic lens. The procedure is known as refractive lens replacement (RLR) surgery or clear lens replacement surgery. The procedure uses similar techniques as cataract surgery which involves replacing the lens with an implant lens.

RLR surgery can be carried out as day surgery so you will not need to stay overnight in hospital. It usually takes less than 4 hours to complete the procedure. A local anaesthetic is used, apart from in rare cases when the specialist may carry out the surgery using a general anaesthetic. Your specialist will be able to talk you through exactly what will happen. As well as treating the presbyopia an additional benefit of having this surgery is that you will never suffer from cataracts as the lenses in your eyes will be implants. However as with any surgery there are some risks such as developing an infection. There is also a possibility that you could develop complications as a result of the surgery.

Lens Implants

There are different types of lenses which could be used to implant into the eye for RLR surgery. A multi-focal lens which enable people with presbyopia to see close up. However they are not usually recommended for people who do a lot of night driving. In some cases with multi-focal lenses the reflection of light causes a halo effect in your vision. After the surgery you will need some time to adjust to the new lenses in your eyes.

It is also possible to implant monovision lenses which work in the same way as monovision contact lenses. One eye is corrected for distance vision and the other eye is corrected so you can see objects close up. The treatment is often tested with contact lenses first, before having surgery to implant lenses permanently. It usually takes only a few weeks for the brain to adjust to the different lenses.

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