Do you find yourself squinting to read food labels, menus or your phone? You may have presbyopia, or “aging eye.” As we age, the eye lens loses flexibility, and it becomes difficult to focus on close objects. There are many ways to treat presbyopia. Many people may opt to use a magnifying glass, reading glasses or prescription glasses.
Another option is called monovision or blended vision. This kind of vision can be achieved with contact lenses, LASIK (refractive surgery) or an artificial lens called an intraocular lens (IOL).
How Monovision or Blended Vision Works
Everyone has a dominant eye. It is usually the eye that you prefer seeing with if you cover one eye. Your eye doctor can correct your dominant eye for distance vision and leave your non-dominant eye slightly nearsighted to use for seeing objects up close.
Even though it is called monovision, you are still using both eyes. When you are reading or driving, the brain slightly suppresses one eye, but both eyes still contribute visual information. Many people find monovision works well for them, but it varies among individuals.
Is Monovision Right for You?
Not everyone can adapt to monovision. Your ophthalmologist may recommend trying blended vision using contact lenses first before a surgical procedure like cataract surgery. In cataract surgery, a surgeon will remove the deteriorated, brittle lens and replace it with an artificial, intraocular lens customized to your vision needs. Often, cataract surgery can reduce dependence on glasses. In some cases, when people can learn monovision, they may not have to wear glasses at all.
Are There Any Downsides to Monovision?
Some patients experience problems with monovision. These may include:
- Eye fatigue or eye strain from too much near work–You may try using reading glasses for the distance vision eye.
- Blurred vision—You may need to wear distance glasses to correct the reading eye.
- Blurry intermediate vision—You may find computer tasks are difficult, and you might need intermediate correction.
- Challenges with night driving—You may experience glare, burn and flare when driving at night, and you may need glasses part-time (Stanford Health Care).
In some cases, people may lose some depth perception when one eye focuses on distance and the other eye focuses on close objects. Some people find they still need reading glasses to decipher small print.
Find an Ophthalmologist Near You
Are you considering cataract surgery, or would you like to reduce your dependence on glasses and corrective lenses? Call your ophthalmologist to make an appointment to discuss monovision. Don’t wait until the beginning of the year when your deductible resets. Call today to maximize the benefits of your health plan.