Multifocal LASIK, or presbyLASIK, is a type of LASIK surgery that corrects your eyes for both near vision and distance vision. It has not yet been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but has been performed in Europe since 2001. It can give you freedom from bifocals, trifocals, or reading glasses. PresbyLASIK is the newest refractive surgery for correcting presbyopia, the need for reading glasses that develops with age. It is a possible alternative to monovision LASIK.
What is PresbyLASIK?
PresbyLASIK is, as the name implies, for people with presbyopia. Presbyopia is not a problem with the cornea. It is when the lens of the eye can no longer make the fine adjustments to focus on reading material and other close work such as sewing or removing splinters. These fine adjustments are called accommodation.
In the past, LASIK was only used to correct myopia, hyperopia, or astigmatism. If you wanted correction for presbyopia, your only LASIK option was monovision, which corrects the dominant eye for distance vision and the non-dominant eye for reading and other close work. PresbyLASIK creates multiple zones of focus in the eye, correcting one area for distance and one are for close work.
If you are familiar with multifocal contacts, it is a similar effect. PresbyLASIK uses the same excimer laser that is used in LASIK.
PresbyLASIK Results and Options
PresbyLASIK is not perfect. You may still need reading glasses for some close tasks.
There are different presbyLASIK designs, with center vision corrected either for near or distance vision. Different designs work better for different vision problems.
Some people choose presbyLASIK with modified monovision. This uses presbyLASIK in one eye and custom LASIK for distance only in the other eye. This yields better depth perception than monovision LASIK, and a broader range of distances that are clear. Patients seem to adjust to presbyLASIK with modified monovision more easily than monovision LASIK.
PresbyLASIK is not widely available in the U.S., yet, but may receive FDA approval soon. To learn more about presbyLASIK and other options for freedom from reading glasses — search for a LASIK surgeon near you.