Understanding Presbyopia

Between the ages of 40-45, the phrase that is uttered out of almost every adult is “my eyes just aren’t as good as they used to be.” People that never wore glasses now need glasses for reading and don’t understand why. The reason for this “sudden” impairment of vision is called Presbyopia.

Presbyopia is an eye condition that causes the gradual loss of the eye’s ability to focus on close objects. It appears to be a sudden onset because it is not noticeable until an adult reaches his or her 40s. As it is a natural part of the aging process, it cannot be prevented.

As the lenses in your eye become older, they become less flexible and cannot focus on close-up images. The lens muscles relax when you focus at a distance and contracts when focusing at a nearby image.

Although the typical age for presbyopia begins at 40, there are cases of premature presbyopia. Medical conditions, such as diabetes and multiple sclerosis, and certain prescriptions drugs, such as antidepressants and diuretics, can increase the risk of premature presbyopia.

Symptoms of Presbyopia include:
  1. Holding reading material, such as newspapers and books at arms length to make the letters clearer
  2. Blurring of vision
  3. Eyestrain or headaches from doing close work

A comprehensive eye examination will be conducted by your eye doctor to diagnose presbyopia. It is important to discuss your symptoms with your doctor for proper diagnosis. 

Treatments for Presbyopia:

Presbyopia can be corrected with:

      1. Corrective lenses (glasses or contact lenses)

  1. Prescription reading glasses
  2. Bifocals: the top part of the lens corrects for distance vision and the bottom part corrects for reading vision.
  3. Trifocals: these lenses take into account near, middle distance and distance vision. They are used especially for those who work with computers.
  4. Monovision Lenses: A contact lens for distance vision is worn on the dominant eye and contact lens for near vision on non-dominant eye.
  5. Refractive Surgery

Monovision is performed on a patient who is myopic and has or is nearing presbyopia using LASIK or PRK.

  1. LASIK (Laser-assisted in-situ Keratomileusis)
  2. PRK (Photorefractive keratectomy)

For those who are not candidates for LASIK, PRK is a great alternative.

Presbyopia is a natural part of aging and can be frustrating to accept after a lifetime of clear near vision. The good news is the symptoms of presbyopia are made more tolerable with the technology available today. If presbyopia is preventing you from conducting daily activities with ease, contact the Raleigh Eye Center today!