Understanding LASIK and Monovision
LASIK has accomplished some amazing things for peoples’ vision—for example, if you have nearsightedness, farsightedness, and/or astigmatism, LASIK may be able to eliminate or drastically reduce your eyeglass prescription.
These three conditions are what cause most people to have blurry vision, and they’re caused by the shape of the cornea (the clear part on the front of the eye and where a contact lens sits) in relation to the length of the eyeball.
If the cornea is too steep or too flat (or a combination of both), it won’t focus light properly to the back of the eye where vision is processed. If the cornea doesn’t match the shape or size of the eye, blurry distance vision is likely—it’s like having a camera that’s out of focus…the picture will turn out blurry if the light isn’t properly focused.
What about close up-close vision? As time goes by, why do some people wear “readers” or “bifocal glasses” to see a phone screen, computer monitor, or other things we need to see up close?
A phenomenon called Presbyopia occurs in everyone, and it starts to show symptoms in the early to mid-40s. There’s a tiny lens inside each eye, right behind the iris (i.e., the colored part of the eye).
When we’re young, this tiny lens is flexible…think of the lens’ flexibility like a dodgeball. When a dodgeball is in your hand, it’s almost perfectly spherical, but if you throw it against a brick wall, the moment it hits the wall it contorts to a flatter shape. These shapes are similar to the shapes of the lens inside your eye.
When you look at something up close, the lens is round and spherical. When you look at something far away, it flattens out. This isn’t something we consciously control. When you pick up your phone to check a message, your brain tells your eye to focus certain muscles which make the lens more rounded, and when you look across the room at the clock on the wall, the muscles relax and the lens flattens out.
Just like we lose the elasticity in our skin, the lens loses its ability to change its shape over time…it gets stiffer and tends to get stuck in the flatter shape. So, when we’re in our early to mid-40s, and when we look at something up close, the lens isn’t able to change to the rounder shape and magnify what we are trying to look at. This is why putting on “readers” helps with this issue: it magnifies images up close because the lens inside of the eye can no longer do so.
Presbyopia isn’t something that happens overnight…it’s a slow gradual change that can take several decades to fully occur.
Because LASIK is performed on the cornea, it doesn’t fix the issue of presbyopia (as mentioned before, presbyopia occurs in the lens inside of the eye). If you are considering LASIK, this leaves us with a couple of different options in the surgical planning stage:
- Correct both eyes for excellent distance vision and wear readers for any up-close tasks; or
- Have monovision LASIK and achieve “blended vision” which is functional vision for both distance and up close
More About Monovision…
So, what exactly is monovision? Monovision or “blended vision” is a technique in which LASIK is used to set one eye for far distance vision and one eye for near.
With both eyes open, your brain blends the distances together so that you can see both far and near. It may sound strange, but it works really well for a majority of patients over the age of 40.
The brain is incredibly adaptable, and over the first few weeks of having the monovision procedure, patients become accustomed to the difference between the eyes, life goes on as usual, and it will lessen or eliminate the need to wear reading glasses for up-close tasks.
If you’ve worn monovision contacts and enjoyed the experience, you will likely enjoy monovision LASIK!
Plus, if you have monovision LASIK and you feel like it’s not for you, most can return and have the monovision taken away, so that both eyes are clear for distance without glasses. However, most patients age 45 and older will likely require reading glasses for most up-close tasks.
Your first step? If you’re interested in monovision LASIK, or if you have questions about the LASIK procedure, all will be answered during a FREE Virtual LASIK Consultation with us at 20/20 Institute. Plus, at your evaluation, your doctor will even show you what monovision will look and feel like!
To schedule your free virtual LASIK consultation, call 20/20 Institute at 303-2020-NOW (669) or let us know to contact you, and one of our experienced LASIK counselors will reach out to find a convenient time to reach you.