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Monovision is a vision correction technique that is employed to help treat presbyopia. The process is helpful for those who do not want to use glasses, or readers, for near vision.

Monovision is created by putting a different contact lens in each eye. In your dominant eye (the one with better visual acuity) a lens that corrects for distance is placed. This makes things further away clear and near objects blurry. In your less dominant eye, a lens that corrects for near vision is used. This has the opposite effect; close objects are clear and distance is blurred.

The word monovision may be a bit of a misnomer. The mono- in monovision refers to the fact that each eye is good at only seeing one type of distance. Monovision may seem to imply that you can only see at one distance, or that you cannot achieve stereovision. Although there may be an adjustment period, monovision allows the eyes to work together in order to see at all distances.

The tradeoffs of monovision are slight loss of depth perception, strain due to anisometropia, a slight blurriness at very far or very near distances. Luckily, there are some variations of monovision that may offer a compromise.

Modified monovision involves using a multifocal lens instead of a regular corrective lens. This variation allows more acute distance vision while also having to use glasses for close up tasks. The advantage of monovision is being able to adjust the multifocal lens to get the optimal near vision distance. For example, one could change the lens to see better using a computer or change it to make reading easier.

Mini-monovision is another variation on the process. The change comes from using a less powerful corrective lens on the near vision eye. This sacrifices near vision clarity for better visual acuity at all other distances. One may have to wear readers more frequently, but binocular vision is better. This option is mostly for those whose work involves distance vision or driving as opposed to computer work.

Monovision may also be a cost effective option. Lenses used in normal monovision are cheaper than bifocal lenses. Also, since they are disposable, they offer more comfort and are healthier than wearing bifocal lenses for a long period of time. However, the fitting for monovision is normally more expensive than regular contacts and may require multiple visits to your doctor. There is a chance you may not be able to adjust to monovision, in which case you’ll have incurred some sunk costs.

Permanent monovision can be induced through laser surgery. It is suggested that you have successfully adjusted to monovision by wearing contact lenses before receiving the surgery.