A Closer Look at Presbyopia and Reading Vision Correction

Have you ever sat down to read a book and noticed that the words seem fuzzier than usual? Then you might be struggling with your reading vision.

As we enter middle age, it’s natural for our vision to blur, and it becomes a challenge to see clearly at distances both near and far. There is a name for this. It’s called presbyopia.

What Causes Presbyopia?

Everyone is born with a natural, flexible lens that rests behind our pupils. It operates like a camera lens; focusing and adjusting so our eyes can see things near and far. It’s the reason you can read text clearly in a book or on your phone without the aid of contact lenses or readers.

As we enter our 40s, that natural lens stiffens, causing us to lose the ability to zoom in.

Over the years, optical devices like glasses, contact lenses, as well as monovision surgery have helped patients correct their near and far-sighted issues. Thanks to advancements in technology, there are implants that can provide people with good distance, computer, and near vision all in one. The procedure for these implants is called a Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE).

What Is Refractive Lens Exchange?

RLE is a medical procedure that involves replacing your eye’s natural lenses with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL) customized to your lifestyle. The exchange is performed to correct vision and reduce dependence on bifocals and readers.

There are many IOL options for people seeking RLE. In addition to reading vision correction implants, Vance Thompson Vision has several lens implant options including traditional monofocal, multifocal, extended depth-of-field, and the Light Adjustable Lens™ (LAL®).

An RLE procedure starts with a small incision. Your surgeon then inserts a small instrument and uses ultrasound waves to gently break up the natural lens of your eye. The natural lens is removed and the IOL you chose is placed and positioned in your eye. Once that’s done, the instrument is removed and the healing process begins.

During an RLE procedure, your natural lens is removed and an intraocular lens (IOL) is implanted in its place.

The procedure takes approximately 15 minutes to perform on each eye, and recovery takes between 1 and 2 days. Your doctor will see you one day, one week, one month and 3 months after your surgery to monitor your eyes as you fully heal.

The RLE procedure is the same as cataract surgery, the only difference is that the eye’s natural lens is still clear when RLE occurs, and is not clouded by cataracts. In fact, since cataracts develop in our natural lenses, patients who undergo RLE will never develop cataracts.

Why Choose RLE Instead of LASIK?

When it comes time to decide between RLE or LASIK, the answer is determined by age. While LASIK is available to anyone after they enter their 20s, it works best to correct refractive error resulting from the cornea. RLE corrects the natural lens behind the pupil. That natural lens starts to lose flexibility and stiffen in our 40s thus hampering your ability to read.

If you get LASIK, even before you enter middle-age, you are still susceptible to presbyopia. If you are 40-years or older and experience presbyopia, RLE is strongly recommended as it helps achieve quality results that makes you less dependent on contact lenses and readers.

Research and development for improving reading vision goes as far back as the ‘70s, and has seen a huge uptick in recent years due to the reliance on computers and smartphones. For more than 30 years, VTV has played a pivotal role in performing FDA-monitored studies on RLE, which resulted in high patient satisfaction.

The Solution Is Clear

For years, patients’ only options for RLE were implants designed to correct either near or far vision, but advanced implants allow people to see at all distances. RLE patients can now choose vision that fits their lifestyle and accommodates all of their activities.

And, because the new lens implant won’t deteriorate over time like our natural lens, these advanced implants will give someone the reading range of a younger person for the rest of their life.

If you are worried about or experience presbyopia, advanced implants make the solution clear: RLE. At Vance Thompson Vision, we’re dedicated to blending the world’s most advanced technology with our extensive experience to help you see life the way you want to see it.

If you have questions about RLE or are curious about correcting your reading vision, contact us today to schedule an appointment.