You’ve heard of nearsightedness, farsightedness, and maybe even astigmatism! But do you know what presbyopia is? If you’re in your forties or fifties, you could be experiencing presbyopia and don’t know it.

What is presbyopia?

As we age, it affects all parts of the body. Unfortunately, this includes your eyes! When the eyes age, flexibility is often lost.
This means that it may become more difficult to see up close or far away. Ever wondered why your parents wore reading glasses? You can thank presbyopia!
When the eye loses its flexibility, it becomes more difficult to see up close. Don’t confuse this with refractive errors like nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism.
Presbyopia is not a refractive error. Those refractive errors occur because the eye isn’t shaped properly and is too short.

Can you treat presbyopia?

Presbyopia isn’t a bad thing, but it can make your life extremely frustrating. If you’re familiar with taking your reading glasses on and off, you’ve experienced presbyopia firsthand.
There are options to treat presbyopia, depending on your desired outcome. The first involves wearing bifocals.
They aren’t pretty and they lack the seamless quality that you may want. This is because there is a distance prescription on top and a near vision prescription on the bottom.
The next obvious way to treat presbyopia is reading glasses. The problem with presbyopia is it affects everyone.
Even if you’ve never worn glasses before, your up close vision will get blurry around forty. Reading glasses are fine but there’s got to be something better, right?

Monovision LASIK

Although there’s no age limit when it comes to LASIK, it’s not the best option for someone in their forties. LASIK works because your cornea is permanently reshaped.
For someone with presbyopia, traditional LASIK won’t work. Instead, a similar procedure called monovision LASIK is performed.
With monovision LASIK, the surgeon corrects one eye for distance vision. The other eye is then intentionally made slightly nearsighted. This way, patients can switch between near and far distances as needed.
One of the issues with monovision LASIK is the results are often not permanent. Though your presbyopia will be treated, monovision LASIK can’t adjust for cataracts if they develop.
This means that when the lens becomes too cloudy, your new clear vision disappears. You’ll then need cataract surgery.

Premium IOLs with cataract surgery

The most popular IOLs include premium lenses like accommodating, multifocal, and monofocal IOLs.
With accommodating IOLs, you are able to switch back and forth between near and far vision. Accommodating lenses may result in less than crystal clear vision up close and far away.
With multifocal IOLs, you may lose some contrast sensitivity. You’re also more likely to experience glares and halos with multifocal IOLs.
Keep in mind that none of these IOLs are approved for treating presbyopia. If you don’t have cataracts but you’re tired of dealing with presbyopia, what do you do?
You could try out some of the treatment options listed above or you could get an extended depth of focus IOL.

The extended depth of focus IOL: Tecnis Symfony

As the name suggests, an extended depth of focus IOL increases your distance vision. An extended depth of focus IOL provides clear focus at all distances, effortlessly.
This is a big deal because other IOLs cannot provide anywhere close to these results. With the multifocal IOL, you lose contrast and experience glares.
With the accommodating IOL, you may end up with less than clear vision. With the Tecnis Symfony (which is an extended depth of focus IOL) clear vision is finally possible!

Refractive Lens Exchange

To get the Tecnis Symfony IOL, you’ll need to undergo RLE or Refractive Lens Exchange. With refractive lens exchange, the procedure is incredibly similar to cataract surgery.
The big difference is with a refractive lens exchange, you are replacing a clear lens.
What many people don’t realize are cataracts form long before causing vision loss. Patients that undergo RLE may have started developing a cataract on their lens and not known it!
If you know that you have early cataracts, you could get RLE before your cataracts cause vision loss. Another plus of RLE is you avoid cataracts altogether. Because your natural lens is removed during RLE, you’ll never develop cataracts.
A cataract cannot form on an artificial lens. This is because cataracts are only made up of proteins in the eye that clump together over time.
Without a natural lens, your proteins can’t form a cataract on your Symfony IOL. Like cataract surgery, there is the possibility of a posterior capsule opacity.
This is also known as a “secondary cataract”. A secondary cataract is not a true cataract, but it causes similar symptoms.
If you have a secondary cataract, it can be removed with a YAG laser capsulotomy. This restores any hazy vision back to normal.

Live your life without glasses!

When it comes to deciding whether to get the Symfony IOL, consider your lifestyle needs. You’ll no longer need glasses when:

  • reading menus
  • seeing the screen on your smartphone while texting
  • looking at your computer screen
  • checking price tags while shopping

These may seem like small things, but it’s often the smallest things that make life easiest! Of course, let’s not forget that you’ll no longer need those pesky reading glasses.
The constant on and off game or stashing extra pairs in your car…you won’t need to worry about them anymore!
Like any surgical procedure, RLE for the Tecnis Symfony IOL may not be right for everyone. That’s why you need to schedule a consultation with Dr. Rex Hamilton at the Hamilton Eye!
During your consultation, Dr. Rex Hamilton will discuss your eye health and history. He’ll also go over expectations for the procedure and what to expect while recovering.
Before scheduling your procedure, it’s important to know you may still need glasses. This can be the case if you’re trying to read very small print.
With proper expectations, you can go into RLE knowing what to expect before and after.
Ready to find out if the Tecnis Symfony IOL is right for you? Schedule a consultation with Dr. Rex Hamilton at the Hamilton Eye in Santa Monica today!