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Wearing Bifocals Got You Down?

“I hate bifocals!”  This comment was made by one of my patients today.  Years ago there was nothing I could do to help this frustration for those with presbyopia.

Presbyopia is when the lens in the eye can no longer focus for near.  This causes blurred vision for reading and sometimes for computer work.  When we are young, (until about age 40), our lens is very elastic and can change shape to focus at near objects.  As we age, the lens becomes less and less able to focus for us.  You may notice needing to hold reading material farther away to gain clarity.  It may feel your arms are suddenly too short!  This is the onset of presbyopia.  Unfortunately, the lens becomes less and less elastic and you need readers or bifocals more and more until about age 80 when the lens cannot focus at all for near.

What Can Be Done About this?

There is no medication to stop this process.  There are a few options if you do not want bifocals:

1. Monovision

Monovision is when one eye is corrected for far vision and one is corrected for near vision.  This works well for a lot of people.  Monovision can be created with contact lenses, LASIK, or through cataract surgery or intraocular lens exchange.

2. Bifocal Contacts

Bifocal contacts are available, but does not provide very crisp vision in both eyes.  For those with high vision demands, bifocal contacts usually do not provide sufficient vision.

3. Intraocular bifocal lenses

These lenses are available either to implant after cataract surgery or for a lens exchange where your own lens is removed and replaced by a lens implant.

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