What is Presbyopia?

Presbyopia is an age related condition which causes vision difficulties with objects in close range. In younger people the lens of the eye is flexible and soft which allows it to change shape with ease, meaning you can easily focus on objects which are far away or nearby. After the age of 40, the eye becomes increasingly rigid and its muscles lose their flexibility.

Symptoms of presbyopia include; blurred vision at normal reading distance, eye strain, holding reading material at arm’s length, and headaches and fatigue whilst doing close up work. These symptoms are very similar to hyperopia which is a refractive condition with similar indicators so it is important to visit a professional in order to get a correct diagnosis. The symptoms of presbyopia can be corrected by wearing glasses or contact lenses or the condition can be treated by undergoing laser eye surgery.

Laser Eye Surgery for Presbyopia

If you opt for laser eye surgery to treat your presbyopia then you will need a detailed consultation with a surgeon who will identify your stronger and weaker eyes. The weaker eye will be treated with a laser using the LASIK method, making that eye slightly short sighted to allow for close up vision. This allows one eye to have good close up vision and the other to have good distance vision. This procedure is referred to as monovision.

As it can take a while for some patients to adjust to this, patients are generally offered a trial of contact lenses which can be worn for a number of hours or days that simulate the effect. Some people can adjust very easily whereas others find that this sort of vision is not something they are comfortable with. Furthermore, around 20% of the population are not suited to this type of surgery because of underlying medical conditions and for those people, or those who don’t adjust to monovision, there is a surgical alternative in the form of a lens exchange.

Costs of Monovision Laser Treatment

The cost of the treatment will depend on the clinic and surgeon you choose. However, typical costs for surgery starts at around £1,000. Nevertheless, many providers will have payment schemes which will allow patients to spread the cost over 1 – 2 years. Some clinics will also charge for your initial consultation as it involves such a detailed examination of the eye. This is generally quite a small charge, typically in the region of £30 to £40, and this may be deducted from the overall cost of the procedure if you decide to go ahead with it.

Complications and Risks

Generally, this is a very safe procedure with few complications arising. However, no surgery is entirely risk free and patients should be aware of possible complications. Some of the more common issues include; a loss of vision, glares or halos, poor vision in low light conditions, under or over-treatments, dry eyes, infection, and inflammation of the eye.

Perhaps it should also be remembered that people who are having very large corrections to their vision do not always experience results that are quite as good as those with lesser prescriptions, and as the eye continues to age, the results of the surgery may diminish. Additionally, LASIK is a relatively new procedure which has only been around since the late 1990’s, therefore there is still not absolute certainty about its very long term effects. However, your surgeon will be able to provide comprehensive information about the risks surrounding surgery at your initial meeting and it is worth remembering that this surgery has already been carried out safely on many thousands of patients in the UK.

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