Treatment Options for Presbyopia
When treating presbyopia, the goal is to allow your eyes to focus on up-close objects. While this can be achieved through wearing glasses or contact lenses, surgical options are also available. Advanced techniques make it easier than ever to correct presbyopia permanently-often reducing or completely eliminating the need for glasses or contacts, including reading glasses. There are two major types of presbyopia-correcting surgery.
Your specific medical needs and personal preferences will determine which is right for you:
Monovision or Presbyopia Laser Vision Correction corrects one eye to focus on far objects, while the other is corrected to focus on near objects. Your brain learns to coordinate between the two images, so you have both far and near vision. If you also have other refractive errors (like nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism), they can be addressed at the same time.
Presbyopia Lens Replacement Surgery replaces the natural lens in your eye with an advanced artificial lens, called an intraocular lens or IOL. It corrects presbyopia and cataracts at the same time, so you won’t have to have another surgery later in life. You can usually also correct nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism at the same time, as well, so that you will have excellent vision at all distances-even without glasses or contacts.
Finding the right presbyopia treatment for you
Here are a few special guidelines for choosing a presbyopia treatment:
- Patients over 50 years of age are generally better served by Lens Replacement Surgery because it spares you from ever getting cataracts, which cloud the vision and can start to develop as early as your mid-50s.
- Nearsighted patients under age 50 are generally better served by Presbyopia Laser Vision Correction (also called LASIK monovision).
- Astigmatic patients under age 50 may also be better served by Presbyopia Laser Vision Correction, depending on the degree of astigmatism.
- For patients who are over age 60 or who have already developed cataracts, cataract surgery may be a more appropriate option. Cataract surgery can also correct presbyopia with the right lens.
Non surgical Presbyopia treatment
Several types of glasses can correct presbyopia:
If you didn’t wear glasses before developing presbyopia, reading glasses can be an effective treatment and are available from most drugstores. If over-the-counter reading glasses aren’t strong enough, prescription-strength reading glasses are available through your eye doctor.
Bifocals and Trifocals (Multifocal Lenses)
Bifocal lenses have two prescription strengths and focus points—the upper part is for distance vision and the lower is for close-up. Trifocals have three prescriptions and focus points for close, middle and distance vision.
These are similar to bifocals and trifocals, but with a more gradual transition between the prescriptions and no visual lines between them.
How Much Will Glasses for Presbyopia Cost?
If your doctor prescribes corrective lenses to treat your presbyopia, the costs will vary. Designer frames and/or specialty lenses typically cost more than regular glasses. Annual eye exams will ensure that your glasses or contact lenses are the most accurate prescription possible.
Presbyopia-Correcting Cataract Surgery
This surgical technique replaces your eye’s natural lens with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL) to correct cataracts. Some IOLs are designed specifically to treat presbyopia and cataracts simultaneously.
How Much Does Presbyopia-Correcting Cataract Surgery Cost?
If you need cataract surgery, you may have the option of choosing artificial intraocular lenses (IOLs) that can also correct your presbyopia symptoms. Costs will vary depending on the type of lens you choose.
How Much Will It Cost to Diagnose and Treat My Presbyopia?
Regular eye exams include tests that identify presbyopia, so it will not cost you extra to be diagnosed.
If your private insurance plan includes vision benefits, it may pay for most or all of your annual regular eye exams. In addition, most plans provide a discount for prescription eyeglasses and contacts. This is often a set payment toward one pair of glasses or your annual contact lens supply per year. The discount/payment can vary. If you choose any extras, such as tinted lenses, prescription sunglasses, colored contacts or other premium features, these are not typically covered by standard vision plans. You may need to pay for these premium features out of your pocket.
Generally, only a portion of the entire cost of presbyopia-correcting cataract surgery is covered by private insurance or local medicare. The specific out-of-pocket cost will vary depending on where you live and what type of intraocular lens you have implanted.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor
Presbyopia is a normal aging change of the eye that may be managed with cataract surgery, glasses or contact lenses. Once you have developed presbyopia, a consultation with an eye doctor will help you determine which treatment option is best for you.
You can download the entire list of questions at the bottom of the page to print out and bring to your consultation.
Are there options that don’t involve surgery?
Glasses or contact lenses can often be prescribed to manage presbyopia before it becomes too severe. A number of patients select surgical correction if they find glasses or contact lenses to be a handicap in their daily lifestyle.
What can I expect after presbyopia-correcting cataract surgery with a multifocal IOL implant?
Multifocal IOL patients may experience glare and halos around lights at night after surgery. Most patients find that they get used to this and the phenomenon become less obvious over time.
Will I still need to wear glasses or contacts after receiving a multifocal IOL implant?
Patients may still need to use glasses in some situations, such as reading glasses for very small print. If you still require glasses or contacts, you will most likely need to update your prescription.
Do I have any general health or other eye conditions that could rule out a multifocal IOL implant during presbyopia-correcting cataract surgery?
Your eye surgeon will review your medical history before approving you for surgery.
How much does presbyopia-correcting cataract surgery with a multifocal IOL implant cost?
Private insurance or Medicare usually covers a portion of the traditional cataract surgery but multifocal IOLs may not be fully covered. Many doctors offer payment plans though the specific out-of-pocket cost will vary depending on where you live and what type of intraocular lens you have implanted.
What is the post-surgery follow-up process?
Understanding the follow-up process will reduce the risk of complications and help you prepare beforehand. While visual recovery is fast, there is a healing period that extends for three months or longer.