Presbyopia is a normal age-related change that occurs in a person’s eyes. It is a condition that affects everyone, regardless of their refractive status.

What happens when I have presbyopia?

With presbyopia, our eyes lose the ability to naturally focus at objects at near – such as text messages and small print. This loss in focusing capability can start at age 40, and gets progressively worse with as we grow older.

Is there a way to avoid developing presbyopia?

Unfortunately, you can’t escape from presbyopia, even if you never had any eye problems before. This is true even for middle-aged people who experience short-sightedness, as they will notice their near vision blurs when they wear their usual eyeglasses/contact lenses to correct their distance vision.

What are the symptoms of presbyopia?

Patient with vision problems

  • Blurred near vision at your normal reading distance.
  • Having to hold your smartphone or reading material further away than usual to see it clearly.
  • Recurring episodes of headache, strained eyes or visual fatigue when doing near vision tasks, especially in the middle-aged.
  • Having increased sensitivity to light and glare in recent years after age 50.

What causes presbyopia?

Presbyopia is an age-related process that occurs due to a combination of factors.

Our eyes contain a natural lens. As we get older, the lens proteins undergo normal age-related changes, causing the lens to thicken and lose its flexibility.

The muscle fibres surrounding the lens and holding it in place also loses eventually loses its ability to change elasticity over the years.

These age-related changes eventually result in difficulties focusing on small print at near.

How can I get rid of presbyopia?

People who initially experience presbyopia can often start with eyeglasses with a progressive lens. The use of these lenses can restore their near vision, and provide excellent vision at all distances.

Other lens design options include bifocals, though the range of vision is more limited.

These lens options in eyeglasses can also undergo photochromic treatment. This allows the lenses to darken automatically under sunlight, and reduce a person’s sensitivity to light and glare.

A second alternative is to make a pair of reading glasses, which are worn only as and whenever needed to read things up close.

Are there other treatments available for presbyopia?

Ophthalmologist see an elderly patient and helping him to wear glasses

Presbyopia correction can also be managed with cataract surgery, and is generally encouraged when eyeglasses can no longer improve visual correction for both at distance and near. Upon performing cataract surgery, a person loses his natural ability to focus at different distances. This means that after surgery, they will still require the use of eyeglasses in order to see at either for near/far.

Other specialized techniques that can be used to restore functional vision for both distance and near is monovision correction, and the use of multifocals. Monovision correction works by correcting a single eye for distance vision and under-correcting the other eye slightly to allow for acceptable near vision.

The use of multifocals, with contact lenses or a lens implant, allows people to see distance, intermediate and near without the use of other optical aids. Good lighting and illumination are essential for them to work best as intended. However, this does not mean they no longer need to use reading glasses, but merely require less dependence on them.

Unfortunately, not everyone can achieve the same visual outcome due to differing expectations, refractive statuses or other existing eye conditions. It is therefore important to consult and discuss with your ophthalmologist in order to determine the best solution based on your lifestyle.

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