It happens so slowly you hardly notice it at first: you have trouble making out the words so you hold whatever you’re reading just a little farther away…and then farther…and farther until you realize your arms are too short. Eventually someone you know hands you a pair of their ‘cheaters’ and here you are: a reading glasses wearer. What happened?
You’ve Got Old Eyes
Presbyopia (that’s Latin for “old eyes”). It’s a natural part of the aging process that begins in your 30s, but most people don’t begin to notice until their early 40s. Of course, being nearsighted or farsighted may change the age at which you begin to notice presbyopia, but it happens to everyone at some point.
When you were young, the lens inside your eye was able to bend and flex all day long to bring things into focus at just about any distance, but as you age, lens flexibility diminishes—that’s presbyopia, and a number of factors can bring it on. When your natural lens is less flexible, your focal point becomes fixed somewhere just beyond the end of your longest arm length.
There is no cure for presbyopia, but there are ways to get around it:
- Reading glasses (or ‘cheaters’ as they’re sometimes called)
- Bifocal glasses or contacts
- Trifocal glasses or contacts
…or you can try something called monovision.
Old Eyes Can See in a New Way
Monovision is what we call the situation where one eye is corrected to focus at distance, and one eye to focus close up. We typically correct your non-dominant eye for near vision, and your dominant eye for distance. (Of course, there are exceptions to that rule.)
Monovision sounds strange at first, and, in fact, most people need a little time to get used to it, but they do through a process called neuroadaptation. Through neuroadaptation, your brain learns to automatically re-see or re-focus through the eye with vision corrected for the appropriate focal point distance. Eventually, it becomes so automatic you don’t even notice a difference between your eyes.
Although there are a few people who love monovision right off the bat, most people really love it once they’ve adjusted. Many find they can’t imagine going back to the old bifocals, readers, etc.
Will You Love Monovision?
The only way to find out if monovision will work for you is to come in and give it a try! We’ll first show you monovision in what we call a trial frame—it looks like a sci-fi Halloween get up, but it allows us to vary the power of the monovision by changing out lenses to see what you’re most comfortable with.
We generally have you read, walk around and even sit in front of a computer to find out what amount of monovision works best for you. Your work and play activities will also have an influence on where we adjust your focal point. If you feel like monovision might just work for you, we’ll give you a pair of trial contact lenses to try. You don’t have to love the contacts themselves; it’s just to give you a more real life sense of how monovision will work in your everyday life.
If you decide that you would rather deal with your old eyes through monovision rather than glasses or contacts (and arm stretches), monovision can be accomplished on a permanent basis with LASIK, Refractive Lens exchange or ICL (implantable contact lenses). We will help you find the vision correction option best suited for your eyes.
If you have questions about monovision, or would like to give it a try, give Dr. Chan a call today at 505-323-0800. Dr. B has been helping people get rid of their reading glasses for years…why not you?