Updated on  May 2, 2024
5 min read

What to Know About Monovision LASIK

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Key Takeaways

  • Monovision LASIK is a laser eye surgery that corrects one eye for near vision and the other for distance vision.
  • The procedure allows both eyes to work together and provide clear vision at all distances.
  • Monovision LASIK is different from standard LASIK eye surgery, which corrects both eyes to see far. 
  • Consult your eye doctor to determine if you are a good candidate for the procedure.

How Monovision LASIK Works

Here’s what to expect during monovision LASIK:

Before the Surgery

Before the surgery, your eye doctor will check your prescription and determine which eye is dominant:

  • The dominant eye is usually the distance eye
  • The non-dominant eye is the near eye
  • A small percentage of people do not have a dominant eye. In this case, you can try monovision one eye.

Your doctor can then prescribe contact lenses with monovision correction. After trying the contacts for a few weeks, you will know whether or not monovision is right for you.

If you struggle to adapt to monovision contact lenses, monovision LASIK may not be the best option. However, if you’re happy with monovision contact lenses, you can proceed with the surgery. 

During the Surgery

During surgery, your doctor will reshape the cornea of one eye to correct near vision. They will leave the other eye untouched or corrected for distance vision. This allows both eyes to work together and provide clear vision at all distances.

Monovision LASIK surgery typically takes about 10-15 minutes per eye. Your surgeon will use a laser to reshape the cornea, which is the clear front surface of the eye.

After the Surgery

With monovision LASIK, there is an adjustment period. In addition to healing time, your brain must adjust to monovision. This is because monovision requires your brain to use one eye for distance and the other for near.

Adaptation can take a few weeks or even up to a few months. You may also experience the following side effects:

  • Dry eyes
  • Glare
  • Halos around lights
  • Difficulty with night vision

Do I Need Monovision LASIK?

If you’re considering monovision LASIK, ask your eye doctor if you can try monovision contact lenses first. It’s important to see if you can adapt to monovision before committing to the surgery.

You may be a suitable candidate for monovision LASIK if you:

  • Suffer from presbyopia, which is the age-related loss of near vision
  • Already wear contact lenses or eyeglasses to correct your vision
  • Are over 40 and have difficulty seeing up close
  • Are in good general health
  • Are not pregnant or nursing

People with farsightedness (hyperopic) can also benefit from monovision LASIK. A standard LASIK procedure will correct nearsightedness (myopia) in both eyes. It may take away the ability to see up close. You can have a standard LASIK procedure and need reading glasses afterward or have monovision LASIK.

refractive error types

What is Presbyopia?

Presbyopia illustration

Over the age of 40, people’s lenses start to stiffen. As this occurs, the muscles are unable to easily flex the lenses (presbyopia). This process impairs the ability to see up close.

Once presbyopia begins, you either need to wear reading glasses, use contacts, or undergo eye surgery to improve your vision.

Presbyopic patients usually wear bifocal or multifocal lenses to focus close-up and read. Many people with presbyopia are good candidates for monovision LASIK, which corrects this vision problem.

Monovision LASIK Pros and Cons

Compare the advantages and disadvantages of monovision LASIK below:

Advantages of Monovision LASIK

  • Reduce dependence on glasses or contacts. You may seek monovision LASIK to be free of any corrective lenses post-surgery. 
  • Future touch-ups are possible. Because your vision may change after monovision LASIK, there is a possibility you can have a second LASIK procedure in the future.
  • The near vision is customizable. If you find monovision contacts challenging to adapt to, consider mini-monovision. Your surgeon will reduce the near correction, improving your distance vision.

Disadvantages of Monovision LASIK

  • Vision imbalance. If your brain has difficulty adapting to monovision, your vision may feel imbalanced or dizzy. You can experience discomfort or temporary double vision. This sensation usually improves over time.
  • Blur at a distance or near. Your distance or near vision will generally be slightly less clear than with both eyes viewing simultaneously.
  • Reduced depth perception. Monovision can affect activities, such as driving or sports, that require depth perception. If you regularly perform many of these activities, consider monovision with caution.
  • Vision changes. Your near vision may worsen with age, even after receiving monovision LASIK. People who experience these changes need to have a touch-up LASIK procedure or go back to wearing glasses and contacts.
  • Pricey. Monovision LASIK typically costs $4,000 or more ($2,000 per eye). Because LASIK is an elective procedure, insurance does not cover it.

What Is Mini-Monovision?

Mini-monovision is also easier to get used to than standard monovision. While your near vision may not be as clear as possible, mini-monovision still gives you some ability to read. This is an excellent option if you drive a lot but don’t spend too much time reading.

Monovision LASIK Vs. Traditional LASIK

Monovision LASIK and traditional LASIK are two different approaches to correcting vision. Here’s a table that shows their similarities and differences:

Monovision LASIKTraditional LASIK
ProcedureAdjusts one eye for near vision and one for distanceAdjusts both eyes for distance vision
SuitabilitySuitable for people with presbyopia Suitable for people with myopia, hyperopia, or astigmatism
Long-Term ResultsMay require adjustments over time as vision changes with ageStable results once eyes have healed
Age RequirementsTypically recommended for people over 40 Suitable for a broad age range, often recommended for those over 21
Updated on  May 2, 2024
6 sources cited
Updated on  May 2, 2024
  1. Lanchares et al. “Hyperelastic Modelling of the Crystalline Lens: Accommodation and Presbyopia.Journal of Optometry, 2012.

  2. Pieramici S., and Feldman, B.H. “Monovision LASIK.” American Academy of Ophthalmology, 2019.

  3. Vastardis et al. “Femtosecond Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis Multifocal Ablation Profile Using a Mini-Monovision Approach for Presbyopic Patients with Hyperopia.” Clinical Ophthalmology, 2016.

  4. Woolfson, J. “Is Monovision LASIK Right for You?” Woolfson Eye Institute.

  5. Garcia-Gonzalez, M., Teus, M.A., Henandez-Verdejo JL. “Visual Outcomes of LASIK-Induced Monovision in Myopic Patients With Presbyopia.” American Journal of Ophthalmology, 2010.

  6. Reilly et al. “Surgical Monovision and Monovision Reversal in LASIK.” The Journal of Cornea and External Disease, 2006.

The information provided on VisionCenter.org should not be used in place of actual information provided by a doctor or a specialist.