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Presbyopia


What is Presbyopia?

Presbyopia is a common type of vision disorder that occurs as you age. You may begin to notice the effects of presbyopia shortly after age 40. Presbyopia is the normal loss of near focusing ability in which your eyes gradually lose the ability to see things clearly up close. You may start having trouble seeing small print clearly.

Presbyopia results in the inability to focus up close, a problem associated with refraction in the eye. It may seem to occur suddenly in the early to mid-40s, but sight reduction occurs over a number of years starting as early as childhood.

You can't escape presbyopia, nearly everyone develops it, even if you've never had a vision problem before. Even people who are nearsighted will notice that their near vision blurs when they wear their usual eyeglasses or contact lenses to correct distance vision.

Most common signs and symptoms of Presbyopia are:

  • Blurred vision at normal reading distance
  • Holding reading material farther from your eyes to see them more clearly
  • Headaches
  • Eyestrain
  • Visual fatigue
  • Hard time reading small print
  • Problems seeing objects that are close to you

What Causes Presbyopia?

Our eyes are able to see when light rays are bent (refracted) as they pass through the cornea and the lens. The light is then focused on the retina. The retina receives the picture formed by these light rays and sends the image to the brain.

When you are younger, the lens of the eye is soft and flexible, allowing the tiny muscles inside the eye to easily reshape the lens to focus on close and distant objects. Presbyopia is a vision condition in which instead of focusing light on the retina, the lens focuses light behind the retina, affecting your ability to see close objects.

Presbyopia is an age-related process. Presbyopia generally is believed to form from a gradual thickening and loss of flexibility of the lens inside your eye. The ineffective lens causes light to focus behind the retina, causing poor vision for objects that are up close.

There is no way to stop or reverse the normal aging process that causes presbyopia. If you do not correct presbyopia, you may be bothered by headaches and eye strain.

How is Presbyopia diagnosed?

During routine eye exams while testing your ability to see both near and distant objects, presbyopia can be diagnosed.

Anyone over the age of 35 is at risk for developing presbyopia. Everyone experiences some loss of focusing power for near objects as they age, but some will notice this more than others. If you experience headaches, problems seeing objects that are close to you or having hard time reading small print, you may want to visit an eye care professional. A comprehensive optometric examination will include testing for presbyopia.

Exams are recommended more often after the age 40 to check for age-related conditions.

Treatment for Presbyopia

There's no cure for presbyopia. Treatment for the condition consists of wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses.

  • If you have only presbyopia and no other vision related problem then Reading glasses will help to correct close-up vision problems by refracting light before it enters your eye. The specific power of reading glasses that you need should be determined by an eye exam.

  • If you already wear eyeglasses for other vision problems, then you might need bifocals or trifocals lenses. Bifocals corrects close-up and far vision. A line divides the lens, the bottom of the lens refracts light for close up vision and the top portion refracts light to allow you to see distant objects. Trifocals have three lens areas, corrections for close-up, middle, and far vision.

  • Some people prefer to wear Contact lenses rather than eyeglasses. There are two types of contact lenses available to help presbyopia. Monovision contacts, these correct one eye for distance vision and the other for close-up vision. Multifocal contacts, these lenses have several rings, set at different powers.

  • If you don't want to wear eyeglasses or contact lenses for presbyopia. Then a number of Surgical options to treat presbyopia are available as well.