Reading glasses and excel spread sheets.

A scene that is as comical as it is predictable: the aging accountant who finds they need to reposition their laptop or desktop computer further and further away. We will all laugh and make jokes at the expense of our aging colleagues until the day we find that we are struggling to focus on those tiny numbers in the cells of an excel spreadsheet.  With such a visually demanding career your eyes are as important as all the skills you spent years learning and perfecting. As an accountant you simply cannot afford to waste time searching for you readers, again.

This begs the question why does this happen to us? Why when we spent the first 40 years of our lives being able to see without visual aids, why do we suddenly find ourselves hunting for readers at our local pharmacy? The answer to this is simply aging. The aging of the lenses of our eyes. When we are born and while we are young the lens is able to adjust its shape in order to allow us to see both near and far. There are two proposed ways in which this happens either the muscles that control the shape of the lens become weaker with age or the lens loses its elasticity. What this means for us is that our near vision becomes poorer and it’s progressive, meaning that the near vision will get progressively worse as we age.

This all sounds like terrible news for our aging population especially those in finance who rely so heavily on their near vision to be able to keep up with their visually demanding careers. This is however, not the end of the story. There are several options available to compensate for an aging lens. These options will provide improved vision and can be tailored to fit almost any life style.

Contact lenses and glasses are good options for visual improvement and most ophthalmologists will recommend that you see an optometrist and get a pair of prescription glasses to improve your vision. For those who never wore glasses before it is perfectly acceptable to pop into your local pharmacy and buy a cost-effective pair of readers. If you have been wearing glasses, you may want to invest in a pair of bifocals which will give you better near vision when you look down. As the lens ages it is important to realize that the prescription for your eye will change and so it is important to follow up with your optometrist regularly especially if you notice your vision is not clear even with your glasses.

Contact lenses may be little trickier because they need to compensate for near and far vision. There are two options for this: multifocal lenses or monovision lenses, where one eye is for near vision and the other eye will be for far vision. These may take some adjustment. For contact lens wearers extremely good hygiene is essential. Research shows that contact lens wearers have a 10 times higher risk for sight threatening infections than you would have with LASIK. This is because the infection risk with contact lenses accumulates over time where LASIK is a once off procedure in a very controlled sterile environment.

For many people who never needed glasses or contact lenses at a younger age it is easy to forget to put contact lenses in prior to going to work or forget their glasses on the desk after working from home late into the night. For many they would like to remain spectacle independent and others may even want to become spectacle independent after many years of glasses and contact lenses. In these cases, laser vision correction may provide a great solution. The ability to work late into the night without worrying about removing contact lenses or searching for readers provides many people with a better quality of life.

A common misconception is that anyone over the age of 40 is no longer a candidate for laser vision correction but this is certainly not the case. With blended laser vision correction, the cornea (first clear layer of the eye) is shaped in such a way that refractive errors are corrected, and an extended focus is created. To benefit maximally from this extended focus the two eyes have slightly different focus points to create an overall increased depth of focus and spectacle independence for most of your daily tasks. There is a large overlap between the two eyes in the middle creating continuous focus. Laser blended vision has a range of benefits, especially when compared to traditional monovision options like bifocal glasses and contact lenses. It is based on a continuous focus rather than focus at specific points. Laser blended vision does not require surgery that enters the eye. Between 95% and 98% of laser blended vision patients can read normal newsprint and 80% to 96% can read the very smallest print on medicine bottle inserts without reading glasses.

When you arrive at work you will no longer have the panic associated with forgetting your glasses at home. You can once again look up from your computer without needing to remove your glasses. With laser vision correction you are able to experience vision that is comparable to the vision you had when you were younger. Once you leave the office and you are driving home you will be able to see at all distances which means the speedometer, the car driving a bit too close to you and the traffic light in the distance will all be clear. Rush hour traffic on the way home from work will probably still exist but any frustration associated with your vision will have improved.

There are even more new and exciting options on the horizon and with constant innovation in this field we can expect that we will see an ever-increasing number of options available to everyone who experience a decline in their near vision. An example if such an innovation is the Vuity® eye drops. These drops cause the pupil to decrease in size and this then focuses the light rays directly onto the back of the eye. This will be a fantastic option for someone who is not a candidate for laser vision correction but would prefer not to wear glasses or contact lenses. They will have to be used daily and the effect lasts for about 6 hours. These drops are still undergoing trials at this stage but the results have been promising. We look forward to this and other options becoming commercially available as the list of options is ever growing.

So, when finally, one day the inevitable happens and you suddenly find that your near vision isn’t what it used to be there is no need to despair. We have many options available to us and those options are only growing in number as technology innovates and improves. If you have already started to experience the symptoms of presbyopia, there will be an option to suits your life style. As someone who works in the demanding environment of finance your vision is so important to your job and quality of life, it should be a priority to ensure that you are always living up to your full potential.

Then the important question: For how long will you not be able to work? Lasik patients are usually booked off for the day of the procedure and the day after. On the day after the procedure, you should already have about 90% of your final vision which will improve over the next 6 weeks.

Visit your refractive surgeon to find out if you are a candidate. At Sandton Eye Clinic we offer complimentary screening to find out what your vision corrections are. Should you be a candidate you can choose to continue with a full consultation. Sandton Eye Clinic is contracted to medical aids. Medical aids do supply funding for tests from your savings but most medical aids to not have a laser vision correction benefit.

Disclaimer: Glasses are safe because there is no medical procedure involved. If you are happy to wear glasses LASIK is not for you. LASIK is a lifestyle procedure providing unaided vision. According to research the cumulative risk of contacts may be more than LASIK.

Three-Year Longitudinal Survey Comparing Visual Satisfaction with LASIK and Contact Lenses

Conclusions: Compared with contact lens wear, current LASIK technology improved ease of night driving, did not significantly increase dry eye symptoms, and resulted in higher levels of satisfaction at 1, 2, and 3 years of follow-up. Compared with continued contact lens wear, LASIK significantly reduced the self-reported rates of eye infections, ulcers, and abrasions each year.

#SandtonEyeClinic #BestDecisionEver #PresbyLASIK #ReadingGlasses #DrLourensCoetzee #DrMelodySun AmericanAcademyOfOphthalmology #PROWLstudyLASIK

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