Almost everyone older than 45 will develop presbyopia, or the loss of close-up vision. Some cope by wearing reading glasses or contact lenses, but surgical options are becoming increasingly popular.
Are these surgeries safe? What is the recovery like? Who is a good candidate? Here, tackling a sampling of your questions is Dr. Barrie Soloway of the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary.
Kelm Brueschke of Urbandale, Iowa, asks: I am a type 2 diabetic and want to know if that precludes me from being a candidate for Lasic eye surgery?
Dr. Soloway: Diabetes in and of itself would not preclude you from having LASIK eye surgery, however, all the other caveats would apply such as the need for the prescription to be stable and the diabetes under control, including any retinal vascular problems.
H. Porter of Charlotte, N.C., asks: Is surgery to correct presbyopia recommended for someone who wears contacts for distance vision and astigmatism and wears glasses for reading?
Dr. Soloway: Most people who want their presbyopia corrected surgically are having it done in addition to getting their distance vision corrected as well. With current techniques for surgical presbyopia correction, one might find it difficult to use contact lenses afterwards. Some of the methods you might consider if you are found to be appropriate anatomically would be monovision lasik surgery which can be done in the United States as it is fully approved.
Angelo of Jersey City, N.J., asks: Without adequate lighting, I have to strain my eyes to read and I am only 39 (40 in March, 06). I am worried that if I even am a candidate for surgery, presently, how long before I would need another to correct my ever-changing eyes? I currently use my glasses two weeks at a time vs. my contacts (L-5.5, R-5.0) for one week at a time. I am very curious, please advise me, Thanks!
Dr. Soloway: It is unusual but not unheard of that someone in their 30s needs reading glasses. It is possible that your distance prescription is too strong as this would have the same effect. Surgery for the distance alone might be OK if that portion of your exam isn't changing. Unfortunately, the reading portion will deteriorate gradually over the next 25 years.
Kathy Duff of Gainesville, Fla., asks: I have been wearing glasses since I was 15 for myopia. The prescription has not changed much over the years, except for a little change causing me to wear bi-focals. I am 41. I have been wanting to see if surgery could fix my vision, as I hate wearing glasses and contacts. I want to wake up and see clearly and not have problems swimming. I also feel it interferes with some of the assignments I have been given at work. My husband says that it will not fix the presbyopia, and I will still need glasses. I'd rather wear glasses for when I am reading than wear glasses 24/7. May I have your opinion?