Will glasses become a thing of the past?
Will glasses become a thing of the past as technology increases?
“Needing glasses” can be considered shorthand for what eye doctors call having a “refractive error” in one’s vision. Nearsightedness (myopia) is where distance vision is blurred but near vision is still relatively good. There are other refractive problems as well such as hyperopia and astigmatism.
Presbyopia is another visual problem that comes in middle age that also requires glasses for most people. While it can be considered a refractive problem, it is different from the ones above and, indeed, can be present in addition to myopia and the others. Presbyopia is the age-related hardening of the natural lens of the eye to the point where the eye can no longer change focus easily up close.
Since it is by definition a reshaping of the cornea, not the eye’s internal lens, LASIK is most suitable for people who have not reached the age where presbyopia develops.
While LASIK is highly successful in most refractive errors, it will not cure the aging of the natural lens which will eventually discolor and cloud (a cataract).
Lens implants are increasingly being used to replace the aging natural lens, not just for frank cataracts, but to achieve correction of refractive errors. Unlike LASIK, the visual effects are much longer-lasting. If this technology continues to be improved, it is quite possible that refractive surgery (but not necessarily LASIK) could well replace glasses.