One of the most common complaints people have following laser eye surgery is that there has been a deterioration in their reading vision. Whilst laser eye surgery does not specifically cause our reading vision to deteriorate it can have this effect on some people.
Who is likely to be affected?
If you are over the age of 45 years old and are short-sighted (minus prescription) then your reading vision will be significantly reduced following laser eye surgery. If you are under the age of 40 years old and are long sighted (plus prescriptions) then your reading vision is likely to be the same or slightly better following your treatment.
Why does the reading vision get worse following laser eye surgery?
As we get over the age of 45 years old our reading vision starts to deteriorate naturally, a process referred to as presbyopia. Presbyopia basically means that the natural lens within our eye in no longer able to focus on close vision tasks as it once could. If we are short-sighted and over the age of 45 years old we will start to find it easier to read with our glasses off. The problem is if you are over 45 years and have standard laser eye surgery, following your treatment you will have perfect distance vision and therefore no longer be short-sighted. This will be great in the fact that your distance vision will now be perfect but you will now no longer be able to take your glasses off when you need to read as you won’t need glasses any more!
The best way to explain what your reading vision will be like after laser eye surgery is to wear your distance vision glasses and then try to read. If your reading vision is blurred then this is exactly what you can expect following laser eye surgery. It is important to realise here that this test only works if you are wearing single vision glasses or contact lenses. If you are wearing varifocals of bifocals then you will still be able to read with your glasses on.
Can laser eye surgery also correct my reading vision?
If you are over the age of 45 years old you should definitely consider having either Monovision laser eye surgery, Laser blended vision or Kamra vision inlays. Although all three techniques work in different ways, they all aim to correct both your distance and reading vision.
If you are short-sighted and over 45 years old, following standard laser eye surgery your reading vision WILL definitely be worse. For some people this will be extremely annoying, especially if they spend large parts of the day with their glasses off, reading or using the computer. It is not the laser eye surgery as such that makes your reading vision worse, it is just that you will no longer be short-sighted. You will therefore be like a large majority of the population who have perfect distance vision but need reading glasses as they get older. For some people, this is not an issue and they are happy just to use the cheap ready reader type glasses for reading as required. If you think this will be frustrating for you then you need to consider having one of the special types of laser eye surgery mentioned above.