Can Lens Replacement Surgery Eliminate Reading Glasses?

Steven Dell, MD
Article by
Austin Ophthalmologist

The answer is frequently yes. Some patients are interested in surgery to eliminate glasses for distance, intermediate and near vision. Their inability to read up close is called presbyopia. In many cases, the best way to treat this is to “prematurely” remove the lens in their eyes that will eventually become a cataract, and replace it with an intraocular lens. There are intraocular lens that have the ability to see at distance, intermediate and near without the need for glasses. This procedure is called Refractive Lens Exchange, and it is generally reserved for patients over the age of 40.

Refractive Lens Exchange is in essentially identical to cataract surgery; however, since it is performed on individuals who have not yet developed a significant cataract, it is referred to by a different name than “cataract surgery”. During an evaluation of your eyes, your surgeon can determine if this option is appropriate for you.

This type of surgery can restore the traditional full range of vision we are used to without the regular use of glasses or contact lenses. This can mean being able to see clearly across the room, at an intermediate distance like a computer screen, and even up close to read a novel, all without having to reach for glasses.

This procedure is not for everyone. Many patients will be better candidates for something else such as LASIK. Still others should be counseled that they should not undergo any procedure at all. Each case is different. The good news is that with current technology, we can treat a wider spectrum of patients than ever before. A thorough consultation with your eye doctor is the only way to determine which option is right for you.

Steven J. Dell, M.D.