Presbyopia is a normal aging change that makes it more difficult to see things up close (reading, seeing cell phone, i-pad). When we are younger, the lens of the eye can easily change shape, which allows us to focus at a distance, and then focus up close quickly, without any problems. As we grow older, the lens will slowly become firmer, so that it is unable to change shape as easily. This is why we start to need reading glasses around the age of 50.
Cataract surgery involves removing the cloudy lens of the eye, and replacing it with a clear lens implant. Most implants are set for distance vision, meaning that distance vision is clear after surgery, but everything at intermediate and near is still blurry. Glasses are needed for these intermediate and close up visual tasks (computer, cell phone). Many people are irritated by putting reading glasses on & off constantly all day long, so they decided to wear “progressive glasses” all the time.
It is possible to have an advanced technology implant, called a Presbyopic implant, so that glasses are not needed after cataract surgery. A Presbyopic implant gives clear distance vision, intermediate vision, and close up vision without glasses.
The implant technology has changed greatly improved over the past 10 years, such that, even people without cataracts, who have been denied LASIK due their glasses prescription being too thick, are having this surgery done to allow for freedom from glasses. This is called Clear Lens Exchange, or Refractive Lens Exchange.
While Presbyopic implants do provide the most independence from glasses, it is possible that you still may glasses for certain activities (crafts, threading a needle, etc…).
Not everyone is a good candidate for a Presbyopic implant. There are several special tests that need to be done to properly determine if a presbyopic implant is right for you.