What options are there for getting out of reading glasses

No GlassesI’m often asked by patients, “What options are there for getting out of reading glasses.”

Wearing glasses, whether distance or reading glasses, can be a hassle and even a burden for many people. Glasses can interfere with favorite activities such as sports, outdoor activities, and hobbies. Over the counter reading glasses can be a hassle because they are never around when you need them!

If a patient does not yet have significant cataracts, several options are available to decrease dependence on reading glasses. Mono-vision LASIK or mini-mono-vision LASIK are great options for patients in their early 40’s and 50’s. We’ve been performing these procedures in our Charlotte office for over a decade with excellent results. In mono-vision LASIK, one eye (usually the dominant eye) is corrected for distance. The other eye is corrected for near. In mini-mono-vision, one eye is also corrected for distance. However, the near eye is only slightly corrected for near. The procedure provides some up close and intermediate vision but not as much near vision as full mono-vision. In mini-mono-vision, however, the distance vision in the near eye is better preserved than full mono-vision.

While LASIK is an excellent option for patients’ without cataracts in their early 40’s and 50’s, not all patients are candidates. For patients with cataracts, who wish to get out of reading glasses, I often recommend cataract surgery. Not only can cataract surgery improve a patient’s vision, but with laser cataract surgery along with certain lens implants, I can decrease a patient’s dependence on reading glasses. In fact, many of my post-cataract patients in the Charlotte area no longer wear reading glasses or distance glasses. Different options include: laser cataract surgery with a traditional monofocal lens implants for low levels of astigmatism; laser cataract surgery with toric lens implants for moderate to high levels of astigmatism; laser cataract surgery with multifocal lens implants for near, intermediate and distance vision with a single implant. The benefits of cataract surgery include the fact that this is a permanent solution. It is a ten minute, outpatient procedure. Once you have successful cataract surgery, you will never need cataract surgery again! My specialty includes laser cataract surgery with toric lenses to correct astigmatism. In fact, I am one of the top toric lens surgeons in the area.

Another option that many patients do not know about is the Kamra Inlay. This surgical option for decreasing dependence on reading glasses uses the principle of pin-hole optics to provide up-close vision without the loss of distance vision associated with mono-vision or mini-monovision LASIK. This procedure has been performed in Europe for several years and has been available in the Charlotte area since early Fall 2015. We have been performing this procedure at Metrolina Eye Associates since then with great success. This significant advancement in eye surgery is a 10-15 minute outpatient procedure with little downtime afterwards.

In conclusion, several options exist for surgery for decreasing dependence on reading glasses. One of our surgeons at Metrolina Eye Associates would be happy to discuss the risks and benefits of these and other options with any patient looking to reduce or eliminate the use of reading glasses.

By Dara Khalatbari, MD