Laser eye surgery v. lens surgery: Which is better if you wear reading glasses?

Do you need to hold books or screens at arms-length to read them clearly? Are you relying on reading glasses to see close objects despite not needing them in the past?

If you answered yes to either of these questions, you’re likely one of the 1.8 billion people worldwide with presbyopia, an age-related inability to focus on nearby objects. Reading glasses or contacts are the fastest way to address this condition, but they’re a hassle and easy to lose.

If you don’t want to deal with corrective lenses, eye lens surgery or laser eye surgery for reading glasses may be an option. Both procedures have their pros and cons, and each is suited for different situations.

Which type of eye surgery for reading glasses correction is best for you? Let’s take a closer look to find out.

Lens surgery for reading glasses

The lens is a clear, elliptical structure responsible for helping your eyes focus. It bends light rays as they enter your eye and condenses them on your retina. As you age, the lens can lose some of its ability to bend light precisely, making it harder for you to focus.

Lens replacement surgery corrects this problem by removing your natural lens and replacing it with an artificial one. These come in multiple types, like multifocal and accommodative, to correct a variety of vision problems.

Presbyopia isn’t the only age-related condition that affects the lens. Lens surgery can also correct cataracts, making it the best choice for people over 55 that suffer from both conditions. It’s also a valid option for younger people who don’t qualify for laser eye surgery, but thanks to advancements in the technique, more people qualify for laser procedures than ever before.

The downside to lens replacement surgery is the risk of complications. Though it’s a common procedure, it is invasive and involves an artificial implant, leading many people to choose laser surgery instead.

Laser eye surgery for reading glasses

Laser eye surgery is far less invasive and lower risk than lens surgery. In many cases, it’s also just as effective at correcting presbyopia.

The Presbyond laser blended vision procedure modifies your vision in each eye individually so that you’ll be able to see clearly in a full range of distances. The dominant eye is adjusted for mid-range to far distances, while the non-dominant eye is adjusted for close to mid-range viewing. As a result, your brain will always interpret images as being clear without the help of corrective lenses.

You’re most suited for laser eye surgery if you’re 55 or younger with moderate vision impairment. Regardless of your age, thin corneas, cataracts, and very high vision prescriptions could disqualify you from the procedure.

The final verdict on lens v. laser surgery

When all is said and done, both lens and laser eye surgery for reading glasses are viable options. Laser blended vision is best suited for younger patients with mild to moderate presbyopia. If you’re over age 55, it’s worth considering lens surgery as it can help you avoid future cataracts operations as well.

Tired of wearing your contacts or reading glasses and want to know if you qualify for vision correction surgery? Take our short and easy self-test to get the answer in minutes.

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About the author

Mr Alex J. Shortt | Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

MB BCh MSc PhD FRCOphth PGDipCatRef

I’m Alex Shortt, a highly trained academic researcher and Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon based in London’s famous Harley Street medical district. I trained and worked as a consultant for 14 years at London’s Moorfields Eye Hospital. I specialise in advanced technologies for correcting vision, including cataract surgery, implantable contact lenses and laser vision correction.