LASIK has been FDA approved here in the United States since 2003, just over sixteen years now. LASIK became very popular shortly after and peaked just before the recession in 2009. If you are now over the age of 40 and wear correction then you may at one time contemplated getting the procedure done, possibly even had an evaluation to see if you were a candidate. Early on the technology had a lot of restrictions that would keep you from being a candidate such as far-sightedness, astigmatism, dry eye, high near-sightedness, and diseases that restrict healing or cause perpetual pain such as Lupus, uncontrolled diabetes, and fibromyalgia.
The laser technology available today allows surgeons to treat patients with far-sightedness, high near-sightedness and astigmatism. In addition, there are more treatment options today for patients suffering with dry eye that can make it possible for dry eye sufferers to have LASIK once it is under control. Plus, the technology has improved that there are treatment options to help with some of the struggles people over the age of 40 experience.
The need for reading glasses following LASIK has kept many patients over 40 from having LASIK. These patients want to be completely glasses free. Today there are a few options for people experiencing presbyopia. Presbyopia is the natural aging of the eye where the lens inside the eye loses its ability to accommodate from distance to close vision. This will happen to everyone, however people who are near-sighted may not notice it as quickly as someone who had 20/20 vision their whole life. People who are far-sighted will notice it much sooner than those with 20/20 vision. A lot of times, presbyopia may feel like it happened overnight.
The first option is not for everyone, it is called monovision or blended vision. Monovision can be simulated with contact lenses prior to surgery and has been used by optometrists for years to help patients be less dependent on reading glasses. Monovision is where the non-dominate eye is corrected for reading and the dominate eye is corrected for distance. The reason this option is not for everyone is because both eyes must work independently for the patient to see near or distance. There are many people when given this option get headaches, blurred vision, have depth perception issues or get frustrated because neither distance or close vision is crisp.
The second option has been practiced locally over the last 9 years and is called PresbyLASIK. PresbyLASIK is for patients whose prescription falls within certain parameters and the patient has ideal corneal thickness to perform the procedure. All patients can tolerate this procedure because the eyes work together, just like they were designed to work. The procedure involves having two laser treatments done on the cornea: one to correct the distance vision and the second treatment to correct reading vision. This procedure usually comes with additional cost because the laser is run twice on each eye instead of once. Patients are also advised that reading vision will not be perfect or like it was in their 20’s. Patients will still need reading glasses in poor lighting conditions, fine print such as medication bottles and for reading rulers or threading a needle.
The last option is a combination of LASIK and corneal inlay. A corneal inlay is a very thin, small piece of film that is designed to be placed in a pocket created by a laser to help with near vision. The inlay is placed in the non-dominate eye to help with reading vision. When the KAMRA® corneal inlay is placed it allows the patient the ability to read more clearly by reducing the amount of light entering the eye creating a pinhole effect.
So to answer the question “Am I too old for LASIK?” No, not at all! If you wear glasses or contacts, are over the age of 18 and have realistic expectations of what to expect following a procedure then you owe it to yourself to make an appointment for a FREE LASIK evaluation. Most LASIK surgeons offer free evaluations with no obligation to help educate the patient of their options. It is important that as a patient you are confident with your surgeon’s bed side manner, professional history and laser system they use to correct the prescription of the eye.
Melody Robertson is the Director of Marketing and Professional Relations for Bond Eye Associates. She has worked at Bond Eye Associates for 11 years with a dual role as their laser vision coordinator until recently when they decided to make her marketing position full time. Please call Bond Eye Associates to schedule your FREE LASIK evaluation with confidence knowing that they have been a trusted, locally owned, medical practice for over 37 years. They are accepting new patients in both of their locations: Peoria and Pekin, IL. Please call 309-692-2020 or click here to schedule an appointment.