As seen in The Record
“Honey, I cannot see a thing on this menu, can I borrow your glasses? You left them in the car??!” Sound familiar? As millions of baby boomers are painfully aware, despite never having worn glasses or contact lenses, the trappings of being 40-something or more come with a progressive loss of the ability to read a menu in a dimly-lit restaurant. This is followed by holding things further away to read them until one’s arms become too short to help! This inevitably has spelled PRESBYOPIA — a need for the dreaded READING GLASSES that our parents had worn — until recently. Although not a “cure” for the cause of this condition, laser vision correction has become “customized to appeal to baby boomers, which allows them to see both near and far.” “Blended vision” or “MONOVISION” are the terms used for correcting near and distance vision permanently.
Eye doctors have for many years corrected the over-40 set with different power contact lenses or with “bifocal contact lenses” with only modest degrees of success. Because people would not wear their monovision lenses all the time, their brain would not make the adjustment it needed to make it successful. Laser vision correction specialists began replicating monovision with LASIK with a very high degree of success. It’s believed that when the brain has monovision 24/7, it rapidly makes the adjustment and recent large studies in the ophthalmic literature support this notion with success rates of better than 90 percent. Typically, if one is right-handed, the right eye will be corrected for distance. The non-dominant eye is corrected to leave it approximately -1.75 Diopters nearsighted (i.e. clear vision at about 20 inches). Most people retain some focusing ability so that they can bring things in much closer. Again, this focusing ability diminishes over decades so that at 70, one might only have near vision at 20 inches, which still allows people to see their dashboard, read their watch, put on their make-up, play cards, or see a computer terminal, all without any reading aids. At 45 or even 55, one can do everything without glasses. After having monovision laser correction, patients commonly have an incredible sensation of recaptured youth and a feeling of freedom. Although several months after the procedure, a monovision patient may still absent-mindedly reach for a pair of reading glasses, a smile comes to their face as they remember that they don’t need them.
Monovision laser correction is not for everyone — a hunter that is outdoors all day and only spends five minutes a night reading their mail might not need it. However, almost everyone uses both near and distance vision on a very regular basis daily, and everyone from firefighters to policemen, neurosurgeons to attorneys, homemakers to athletes on the senior golf or tennis circuit, benefit from monovision without a drop-off in ability.
Recently, a new non-contact laser was introduced into the market to create monovision without touching the eye. The SUNRISE LTK™ (laser thermokeratoplasty) laser can create monovision in only three seconds and is considered the safest laser vision procedure. The only drawbacks are that it only works in certain prescriptions and may have to be repeated in some patients. There are just a few LTK lasers around the New York metro area; the only one in Northern New Jersey being in Ridgewood at Norden Laser Eye Associates (866-614-9220).
Today, laser vision correction (either with LTK or LASIK) offers almost every boomer the ability to read again without glasses and recapture their youth. “Honey, I can’t see a thing on this menu” can now be replaced with “Honey, I can’t see anything I LIKE on this menu, but you look great!”
Monovision LASIK is performed by Richard A. Norden, M.D., F.A.C.S., at 1144 East Ridgewood Avenue, Ridgewood, New Jersey (201) 444-2442