Can LASIK Fix Reading Glasses?
No, LASIK eye surgery cannot completely fix or eliminate the eventual need for reading glasses as a person ages. While LASIK is excellent for correcting nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism to allow clear distance vision without glasses or contacts, it cannot stop the natural age-related focusing issues that cause blurry near vision and the need for reading glasses.
What Causes the Need for Reading Glasses?
Topics Covered In This Article
- 1 What Causes the Need for Reading Glasses?
- 2 How Does LASIK Work?
- 3 Why LASIK Cannot Correct Presbyopia
- 4 Will I Still Need Reading Glasses After LASIK?
- 5 Advantages LASIK Still Provides
- 6 Alternatives for Reading After LASIK
- 7 Should I Still Get LASIK?
- 8 FAQs
- 9 The Bottom Line on Can LASIK Fix Reading Glasses?
Around the early 40s, a condition called presbyopia begins to affect most adults.
Presbyopia is the gradual loss of the eye’s ability to focus on objects up close, resulting from hardening and reduced flexibility of the natural crystalline lens inside the eye.
The lens loses its youthful accommodative ability to change shape and focus incoming light properly for clear near vision.
Problems seeing smaller print up close signal the onset of presbyopia and the need for reading glasses to compensate.
How Does LASIK Work?
LASIK (Laser-Assisted in situ Keratomileusis) uses specialized excimer laser energy to reshape the cornea, permanently changing the eye’s focusing power.
It corrects nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism to reduce or eliminate dependency on glasses or contacts for seeing clearly at a distance and mid-range.
But LASIK only affects the cornea ‒ it does not change the inner crystalline lens or its gradual loss of flexibility that causes presbyopia and blurry near vision as people get older.
Why LASIK Cannot Correct Presbyopia
While LASIK effectively treats refractive errors like myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism, it has no effect on age-related presbyopia.
LASIK simply cannot halt the changes happening internally in the crystalline lens as you age.
For this reason, the need for reading glasses eventually arises for most LASIK patients, typically starting in the early to mid 40s. LASIK imperfectly compensates for the cornea’s slight flattening with age, but cannot treat the primary cause of presbyopia, which is the lens hardening inside the eye.
Will I Still Need Reading Glasses After LASIK?
Yes, you will still require reading glasses even after having LASIK surgery to correct your distance vision. The vast majority of LASIK patients find that they need reading glasses typically between ages 40-45. Some factors affect the specific timing and degree of reliance on readers, including:
- Your age at the time of LASIK surgery
- The amount of presbyopia already present
- Your vision correction prior to LASIK
- Your distance vision after LASIK
- Your visual needs and reading habits
But regardless of individual factors, the need for reading glasses eventually arises due to the eye’s internal changes that LASIK cannot alter.
Advantages LASIK Still Provides
While LASIK cannot eliminate the need for reading glasses as you age, it still offers these valuable benefits for your eyes and vision:
- Freedom from distance and computer glasses
- Independence from contact lenses for distance/computer use
- Ability to engage in activities without eyewear
- Convenience of not searching for lost glasses
- Cost savings on glasses and contacts
- Appearance of eyes without glasses/contacts
Alternatives for Reading After LASIK
Once presbyopia begins affecting your near vision after LASIK, there are ways to improve your ability to see small print up close clearly, including:
- Over-the-counter reading glasses
- Bifocal or progressive prescription glasses
- Monovision LASIK on one eye
- PresbyLASIK treatment
- Multifocal contact lenses
- Refractive lens exchange surgery
Simple drugstore reading glasses offer an easy, affordable solution for most.
Should I Still Get LASIK?
Understanding that reading glasses will be needed down the road, you can still greatly benefit from LASIK if you primarily wear glasses or contacts to see distances clearly.
Thoroughly discuss your vision needs and expectations with your ophthalmologist. If you mainly use vision correction for driving, TV, sports, and other distance activities, LASIK may suit your eyes and lifestyle very well.
Related Article: How to Know if Lasik Eye Surgery Is for You
Can LASIK fully correct presbyopia?
No, because LASIK cannot reverse the internal changes and hardening of the crystalline lens that cause presbyopia and the gradual loss of near focusing ability as you age.
What age is presbyopia corrected with LASIK?
LASIK cannot correct presbyopia at any age. It can only correct refractive errors like nearsightedness, not age-related focusing issues.
Does LASIK last forever or do you need reading glasses later?
The effects of LASIK are considered permanent for distance vision. But as presbyopia develops, reading glasses become necessary typically in your 40s.
If I had LASIK young, would I need readers later?
Yes, even patients who had LASIK in their 20s/30s will eventually develop presbyopia and require reading glasses, but the process may be slightly delayed.
Could cataract surgery fix presbyopia instead of LASIK?
Yes, cataract removal with premium intraocular lens implants can reduce the need for glasses, including reading glasses. It does not stop presbyopia but can provide complete vision correction.
The Bottom Line on Can LASIK Fix Reading Glasses?
While LASIK is excellent for reducing dependency on glasses and contacts, it unfortunately cannot permanently restore the eye’s near focusing ability lost naturally with age.
Be prepared to use reading glasses as needed for close work after LASIK. But you can enjoy many years of clear distance sight without glasses or contacts after LASIK, making readers a minor nuisance later on.
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