Monovision is a method of treatment used for patients who have developed a condition called presbyopia. Presbyopia usually starts to develop when people reach the age of 40-45. It causes uncontrollable change to eyesight and usually results in problems with reading and focusing on objects that are close by. Most cases of presbyopia can be aided with glasses and contact lenses; however, a method called monovision may also be helpful. Monovision involves fitting one eye with a distance lens and one eye with a close-up lens, which enables people to see clearly at distance and up-close.

Presbyopia is a condition which affects the ability of the eyes to switch between focusing on far and near objects, therefore making it difficult to see objects close-up. Presbyopia usually develops around the age of 40 and eventually everyone will develop the condition. Presbyopia is sometimes known as ‘short-arm syndrome’ and the main symptom is difficulty focusing on things that are close to you, which means you may have difficulty reading small print on a computer screen, in a book or on a medicine bottle, for example.

How does monovision work?

Monovision may seem like an odd concept, but it can be very effective. Monovision works by essentially tricking the eye into thinking that the contact lens is part of the natural eye. Each one of us has a dominant and non-dominant eye. A contact lens for distance viewing is placed in the dominant eye and a contact lens for near viewing is placed in the non-dominant eye.

It is also possible to have monovision laser treatment (a method called monovision LASIK), which uses the same concept but there is no need for contact lenses. One eye is corrected for distance viewing and one eye is corrected for nearby viewing. For those who are not sure whether they want to commit to surgery, it is advisable to try monovision with contact lenses first and see how you get on. Before you have surgery you will be examined by an ophthalmologist to check that monovision is a suitable treatment for you. The risks of the procedure, which tend to be very low, will also be explained.

Adjusting to monovision

It can take a short while to become accustomed to Monovision, but after a while most people are unaware that they are wearing different types of contact lenses and they experience a significant improvement in their sight.

Monovision restrictions

Monovision is not a suitable treatment for everyone, though it does appear to be effective for many people with presbyopia. Monovision will not give you perfect vision, but it can help to make your vision considerably better. There may be a slight loss of focus between distance and close viewing, so monovision may not be suitable for patients who require optimum levels of correction. Your optometrist or ophthalmologist will be able to tell you whether you are a suitable candidate for monovision treatment.

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