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Monovision Surgery: Costs, Preparation & More

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Last Updated

Monovision surgery is used to help people with presbyopia. It generally corrects your dominant eye for distance vision, and your other non-dominant eye is corrected for near vision.

While monovision can be achieved with corrective lenses, some people choose to get surgery so they can achieve it without glasses or contact lenses. This can be convenient and freeing, but it may carry some risks and downsides, which is true of any surgery.

The most common way this is achieved surgically is through monovision LASIK. As the name implies, this is a LASIK procedure which, through the use of a special laser, reshapes the inner cornea to achieve monovision in the patient.

This procedure is generally only done for people near the age of 40 or older. A milder procedure called mini-monovision LASIK is often used on those closer to age 40.

Intraocular implants are another alternative to monovision LASIK. By replacing an artificial lens into the eye (generally because it is clouded by cataracts), vision can be improved.

Always talk to your doctor about the nature of any procedure you are considering to make sure you properly assess the risks and benefits.

Talk to your doctor about all your options to determine what is best for you.

Considering Monovision

Starting around the age of 40, the majority of people will experience the onset of presbyopia. This condition is characterized by your near vision becoming gradually more difficult to focus on near objects. Presbyopia progresses until a person is around 65 years old. It may cause reading and focusing on objects, such as phones, very difficult and frustrating.

presbyopia diagram

Presbyopia generally causes some to consider monovision, also called blended vision.

Monovision can take time to adjust, it may allow a person to see at any distance. Monovision may be achieved with glasses, contacts, or refractive surgery (such as LASIK).

Assuming your doctor decides you are a good candidate, monovision LASIK carries a number of advantages.

  • It gives you a greater ability to read and perform other tasks that require focusing on nearby objects.
  • You will generally no longer require glasses.

While monovision may require some time to adapt to, many people report seamless distance and near vision.

When considering monovision, keep in mind:

  • Some people cannot adapt to the change.
  • There can be some loss of depth perception.
  • In some cases, you may still need reading glasses for especially fine details.
  • Any eye surgery carries risk. In severe cases, a problem with the procedure can lead to blindness in the affected eye.

Is Monovision LASIK for You?

laser eye surgery

When considering monovision surgery, talk to your doctor about all your options.

Generally, monovision LASIK is best suited for those who have already worn monovision contact lenses for several years. Using contact lenses achieves a similar effect, but without the risks of surgery. This ensures you’ll adapt to the results of monovision surgery well since you’re already familiar with them from wearing the contact lens for monovision.

Because near vision problems are not generally severe in younger people, most candidates for monovision will be 40 or older.

There is also a very similar procedure known as mini-monovision LASIK. This procedure is largely the same as monovision LASIK but milder. It does not improve vision as much, but it may help you better perform daily tasks and avoid glasses in some situations where you previously needed them. This is often the procedure chosen for people near the age of 40 rather than older candidates.

Intraocular Implants

Intraocular implants are another option for those seeking monovision through surgery. These artificial lenses are meant to replace the real lens in your eye. This is usually done when the lens in your eye is too cloudy due to cataracts.

This procedure is similar in costs and risks to LASIK, and it is worth bringing up with your doctor.

Preparation & Costs of Surgery

Any consideration of surgery should begin with a discussion with your doctor. Once you’re both sure monovision LASIK is a good fit for you, check to see if your insurance will cover the procedure.

Insurance plans generally cover procedures that are medically necessary when no cheaper alternative procedure can produce a similar result.

Unfortunately, insurance does not often cover LASIK. While LASIK can improve a patient’s quality of life, most insurance companies argue that corrective lenses can give the same benefit. This means you likely will have to pay out of pocket for your surgery.

family with happy kids

Monovision LASIK is similar in cost to other LASIK procedures. While cost varies depending on the patient and the facility, you can expect to pay somewhere between $1,500 and $3,000 per eye.

Facilities touting extremely low costs (less than $1,000 per eye) are generally providing unrealistic estimates. You should be wary of such claims.

The average cost of LASIK is also slightly increasing each year.

References

  1. What Is Monovision (or Blended Vision)? American Academy of Ophthalmology.
  2. What You Should Know About Monovision LASIK. (October 5, 2017). Verywell Health.
  3. Presbyopia. (December 6, 2017). Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER).
  4. Dominant Eye: Here’s Looking at You. (April 30, 2019). Healthline.
  5. Intraocular Implants (IOLs). (March 1, 2016). American Academy of Ophthalmology.

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