For patients who use bi-focal lenses to correct both near- and farsightedness, traditional laser vision correction surgery poses a problem because it is designed to treat just one of the two conditions. That is where Omnivision, which means vision at all distances, comes in.
In this procedure, one eye is corrected to give optimal vision at distances and the second eye is intentionally corrected to have a small amount of nearsightedness. To ensure the patient will not be bothered by seeing differently in each eye, a trial of Omnivision using normal corrective lenses (i.e., glasses or contact lenses) is done prior to the permanent surgical procedure.
Omnivision is an option for people with presbyopia, a normal part of aging that affects most people. Besides a decreased ability to focus on near objects, symptoms of presbyopia include eyestrain and headaches.
People who are experiencing the onset of presbyopia often notice that their "arms are too short" to read and they have to hold things further away to see them clearly.
Laser vision correction does not alter the lens of your eye and does not correct this problem. However, there are LASIK procedures that can be performed to create Omnivision (also called monovision) that can help.
Normally, both of your eyes work together equally when you look at an object. This is called binocular vision. You probably have a dominant eye that your brain tends to favor for "sighting" (most right-handed people are right-eye dominant, for example).
With omnivision, each eye is adjusted to have a slightly different focus point. One eye will see things close up, the other eye will see things farther away, and the brain will integrate the visual information from both and filter out any blur. You do not need to make any conscious adjustments. The brain usually adjusts within six to eight weeks to each eye focusing at a different distance.
In this procedure, one eye is corrected to give optimal vision at distances and the second eye is intentionally corrected to have a small amount of nearsightedness.
- Anesthetic eye drops are administered before the procedure to ensure your comfort.
- The surgeon uses a tiny blade to create a flap on the surface of the cornea, the clear front layer of the eye, then lifts and folds back the flap.
- A laser is used to reshape the cornea so that it will focus light more efficiently.
- The surgeon then closes the flap, which adheres in two or three minutes without stitches.
- Most patients describe only a slight pressure on the eye during the procedure.
You may be a candidate for omnivision surgery if you have presbyopia. Most people can adjust to omnivision, but it's a good idea for patients considering the procedure to first try contact lenses that temporarily produce the condition of seeing differently in each eye.
Omnivision will allow someone with presbyopia to read a label, tell the time on his or her watch, shave in the mirror or read a menu in the restaurant. Very fine detailed tasks will still require reading glasses, as well as prolonged near tasks, such as reading a book for several hours. You may also need glasses for night driving.