Are you 40 years old or older and notice that your near vision is getting progressively worse? Do you find yourself reaching for your glasses to see objects or print that is up close, even though you have never had any vision problems before?
If you responded “yes,” you may be one of the millions of Americans over the age of 40 who suffer from presbyopia. But don’t worry! Dr. Sandra Belmont, a renowned LASIK and PRK surgeon in New York City, is here to help.
What Is Presbyopia?
Presbyopia is an age-related vision problem that gradually progresses as you get older. The onset of presbyopia usually occurs at about age 40 or so.
In contrast to nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism, which are caused by an irregularly shaped cornea, presbyopia is thought to occur as the eye’s natural lens starts to thicken and lose flexibility with age. As the lens becomes thicker and less flexible, it becomes more difficult for the eye to focus up close.
Nonsurgical Treatment Options for Presbyopia
Traditional nonsurgical treatments for presbyopia include bifocal lenses, which are comprised of two prescriptions — the main section of the eyeglass lens has a prescription for distance vision while the lower section of the lens has a prescription for near vision. Another nonsurgical treatment option is multifocal contact lenses, which allow the patient to see clearly at multiple distances.
CUSTOMIZED PRK TREATMENT
Another aspect of PRK that has changed is that the treatment can now be customized to each eye.
Traditionally, the laser eye surgeon used an individual’s lens prescription to calibrate the laser used in PRK. This means that if two people had the same prescription, they would receive the same PRK laser eye treatment.
Now, Dr. Belmont can employ the advanced CustomVue wavefront-guided technology to create a distinct map of each eye’s imperfections, including extremely subtle visual errors. She then uses the three-dimensional (3D) map to customize the laser treatment for each individual eye.
How LASIK / PRK Treats Presbyopia
Another option is to have board certified laser eye surgeon Dr. Sandra Belmont perform LASIK or PRK to treat presbyopia. However, there is a caveat: The traditional approach to using LASIK and PRK to treat presbyopia involves monovision (correcting one eye for distance vision and the other for near vision).
With monovision, an individual can see clearly in the distance with one eye and up close with the other eye. When the person has both eyes open, he or she is typically able to see clearly at multiple distances.
When using LASIK or PRK to treat presbyopia, Dr. Belmont intentionally leaves the patient’s non-dominant eye slightly nearsighted, so he or she can see clearly up close without prescription lenses. Again, with both eyes open, a patient should be able to see well at several distances.
During your consultation, you can try monovision with glasses or contact lenses to determine if you can benefit from it. If so, you may be an appropriate candidate for the procedure.
AM I THE RIGHT CANDIDATE FOR PRK IN NYC?
Visiting Dr. Belmont is the only definitive way to determine if you are an appropriate candidate for PRK or another type of laser eye surgery. However, suitable PRK candidates typically include those who:
- Have good eye health overall
- Have a stable vision prescription that has not changed for a minimum of one year before the procedure
- Are over the age of 18 years old if treating nearsightedness or 21 years old if correcting astigmatism
- Do not have an autoimmune or degenerative disease
- Are not prone to developing excessive scar tissue (keloids)
- Do not have any medical conditions that impede healing
- Are not currently taking certain medications such as Accutane or steroids
- Are not pregnant or breastfeeding
When PRK had just been approved by the FDA, there was a more limited scope of PRK eligibility. Only patients with mild to moderate nearsightedness were suitable PRK candidates. Now, however, most individuals are appropriate candidates for PRK thanks to the innovations in PRK and other approaches to advanced surface ablation (ASA). For the right patient, PRK is an excellent alternative to LASIK.
Why Choose Dr. Sandra Belmont for PRK?
Dr. Belmont is considered one of New York's best LASIK surgeons. Her experience, education and affiliations have made her a go-to PRK surgeon and NYC LASIK surgeon. The very scientists and engineers that were involved in the development of the excimer laser for laser refractive surgery choose Dr. Belmont for the treatment of their own friends and family.
To learn more, visit our reasons to choose Dr. Sandra Belmont page.
What to Do If You Think You Have Presbyopia
If you are at least 40 or 50 years old and are tired of reaching for your reading glasses or bifocals to see the objects in front of you, you might have presbyopia. If you think this is the case, contact Dr. Belmont. She can evaluate the health of your eyes and review your treatment options with you.
To find out if you have presbyopia, schedule a consultation with Dr. Belmont. Contact Belmont Eye Center by calling (212) 486-2020.