What is Presbyopia （老花）?
Are you having trouble reading your SMS?
This is because you have developed presbyopia, also called ‘lao hua yan’. It is consequence of aging and happens to ALL of us.
Why does Presbyopia /老花 happen ?
With age, the natural lens in the eye loses its elasticity therefore decreasing the ability of the eye to focus on near objects. This is a sign of the beginning of cataract.
How is Presbyopia treated?
The most common correction method is glasses. When presbyopia begins, people who already wear glasses may either require another pair of glasses for near work (reading glasses) or switch to lenses that allow them to see objects at different focal length such as bifocal or progressive addition lenses. Bifocal lenses contain 2 distinct points of focus in the same lens whereas progressive lenses offer a gradual visual transition from distant to near objects.
Presbyopes who are contact lens wearers may either consider wearing reading glasses on top of their contact lenses when doing near work or switch to multifocal or monovision contact lenses.
No more glasses!
Many types of surgical corrections are available and we will tell you the pros and cons of the more popular options.
LASIK corrects the vision so one eye see far and and one eye sees near (Mono vision). This means reading with only one eye and seeing far with only one eye. This is good if the brain can adapt as there is loss of sense of depth which means driving and chopping food can be dangerous. It is also tiring to read with one eye.
There will also be the other side effects of LASIK (Eg: dry, red eyes) because LASIK works by thinning and removing layers of your natural cornea. So LASIK does not treat the cause of the presbyopia as presbyopia occurs as a result of early cataracts. Thus sooner or later, cataract surgery would have to be performed. In the process where cornea is thinned and reshaped, it means the option of intraocular multifocal lens may no longer be suitable for you in the future. You will thus be left with mono vision or glasses for life.
Cataract surgery and intraocular lens
About 20,000 cataract operations in Singapore are performed every year. This surgery involves removing one’s ageing natural lens and replacing it with an intraocular Lens (IOL). Intraocular means the lens is in the eye. They do not need to changed or replaced. They give convenience of good vision and last for life. Unlike the past, the only IOLs available were monofocal lenses. A monofocal IOL provides excellent vision but only at one fixed distance. This means you would still need to wear glasses when you are reading a book (near vision) and looking at the computer screen (intermediate vision).
Today, we are able to offer you the choice of a premium multifocal IOL.
Certain multifocal IOLs can correct both your distance vision or near vision and intermediate vision after cataract surgery. For the vast majority of patients, having a multifocal IOL means that you will be able to see at distance and up close without being dependent on glasses. So, patients choosing to have a multifocal IOL will likely find that they can drive, watch television as well as read a book and a computer screen without glasses. Over 95 % of our patients choose the multifocal IOL so we have a lot of experience with the different brands of IOLs.
I would discuss with you the multifocal lens most suitable for you depending on your hobbies and work. We have a questionaire to better understand your needs.
The added advantage is that cataract surgery is done only once in your life so that means good vision FOR LIFE without glasses!
As it treating a cataract, medisave and insurance can be used to pay for the cataract surgery and intraocular lens implant cost.
What if you already had cataract surgery but did not choose the correct intraocular lens and now still wear reading glasses?
There are now add-on lenses that are specially made that can be inserted on top of your existing monofocal IOLs so that far and presbyopia /Lao Hua problems are solved as well as astigmatism.