Your guide to understanding what it is, who is suitable, and what to expect.
What is blended vision?
Also known as monovision, blended vision is a technique used for people that are seeking to achieve both good near vision and distance vision without relying on glasses or contact lenses.
Blended vision is used to alter each eye for a different purpose.
One eye is corrected to enable the patient to see clearly at close range – for example reading books, phones, or undertaking computer work. While the other eye is corrected for clear long distance vision, for example driving, watching sports games, seeing street signs. In most cases it is the dominant eye that is adjusted for distance vision and the non-dominant eye for close-up (near) vision.
Since both eyes work together when viewing, in most cases the brain “blends” the images together for clear vision at both distance and near, reducing reliance on visual hardware like glasses or contact lenses, and provides the person clear vision.
Blended vision can be achieved by using laser technology, such as SMILE, LASIK, PRK, or through refractive lens exchange (RLE), which involves replacing the natural lens of the eye with a lens implant – otherwise known as an IOL (intra-ocular lens)
Who is suitable?
Blended vision is an excellent option for those who are over the age of 40 and are experiencing the frustrating loss of near vision. This is called presbyopia.
Laser vision correction is predominately used for distance vision errors. For patients that are presbyopic, it means the treatment will correct their long-distance vision, but the loss of near vision will remain resulting in the continued use of reading/near glasses. Where patients are suitable for distance vision correction but would prefer not to wear glasses at all, blended vision can be considered as a solution.
Presbyopia is something that occurs as we age and the natural lens inside our eye becomes older, less flexible, resistant to changing shape, and is no longer able to focus up close as it did when we were younger. This is a normal condition and occurs in most people around the age of 45 and is why many people start to need reading glasses.
Blended vision can also be used to improve the quality of someone’s distance vision.
As such, it is an excellent solution for those wanting to become completely independent from glasses and contact lenses.
The importance of a contact lens trial to define suitability
If you are interested in seeing if blended vision is right for you, AE&LC doctors always suggest a contact lens trial prior to consultation so that all options can be carefully considered and discussed at your initial assessment.
These trials are important and are an excellent pre-operative measure to see if blended vision is right for you. The trial essentially simulates the surgical outcome before it is made permanent and provides peace of mind before having the procedure. There is nothing lost if blended vision isn’t right for you, and you can still consider the conventional distance vision correction and continued use of glasses for near tasks.
AE&LC strongly encourages all patients considering blended vision to undertake a trial, following up with them in a few weeks.
The different types of procedures using blended vision
Depending on your prescription, and your visual goals, the below options are available to successfully use the blended vision technique to live glasses free.
At your consultation, your ophthalmologist will discuss with you your best option, the cost, the process, and your expected outcomes. If you have not yet had a contact lens trial, they will also assist you to organise this through your optometrist.
Blended vision using laser
Using laser vision correction techniques and technology, the focus of each eye can be customised. The laser technology is used to make one eye focus clearly at long distances and the other at near. The brain gets used to this rapidly and most people do not even realise they are only using one eye at a time. Blended vision can be an excellent option, and for many people who don’t require distance vision correction, means only having laser treatment to one eye. In addition, it is fast, minimally invasive, and an effective way to correct presbyopia.
Blended vision using refractive lens exchange
Similar to above, one eye is made better for distance and the other for near vision. The difference is that instead of changing the shape of the cornea with laser, your ophthalmologist will remove the natural lens in your eye and replace it with a personalised IOL to suit your unique eyes and vision. This option is often suggested used for presbyopic patients who are not suitable for laser vision correction or are over the age of 60. It’s a permanent procedure and will prevent removes the potential for any cataract to developing surgery in the future, or for those patients who are not suitable for laser vision correction.
What to expect
Blended vision can be achieved using either laser vision correction or refractive lens exchange. Both are very safe day procedures and are performed in accredited theatre environments at ParkView Day Surgery, a purpose built ophthalmic Centre conveniently located in the same building as AE&LC. Recovery is similar with both treatment options and return to normal activities – now without glasses – is fast!
Once your contact lens trial has taken place and you have decided to proceed, you will attend Adelaide Eye & Laser Centre for your pre-operative assessment with the doctor of your choice.
You can expect this appointment to go for approximately 2 hours, during which you will undergo several painless tests. Depending on your prescription, it’s often recommended that you have someone drive you home due to the use of drops that may affect your vision for a few hours.
On the day of your procedure, you will attend ParkView Day Surgery for 2-3 hours. We advise wearing flat shoes and comfortable clothes. The procedure itself is quick, and you can rest in a recovery lounge until you feel like going home. At this time our nursing staff will take you through your post operative instructions and medications.
The day after your procedure you will see your doctor and they will check on your progress and confirm the appropriate follow up appointments are scheduled.
Compromises within the blended vision solution
As with all surgery, there are some risks and compromises all of which are detailed during your consultative appointments. One of the common compromises with blended vision is patients may find that they experience a slight loss of depth perception (objects seem closer or further than they actually are). Near vision focal length may also not be perfect and is set somewhere in-between. This is the importance of the contact lens trial as it is possible to understand each patient’s visual preference and demands and create a customised treatment plan before it is set up permanently.
Both Dr Peter Ingham and Dr Ben LaHood are highly respected experts in refractive ophthalmology and have extensive experience in performing blended vision. Both have dual sub-specialities in cataract and laser vision correction (refractive) surgery and are focussed on providing the best visual results with a highly tailored approach for each patient.
Find out more
If you would like to find out more about blended vision, or book a consultation to understand if you are suitable, please do not hesitate to reach out to a member of our refractive team at email@example.com or 08 8274 7000.