Presbyopia is a vision condition in which your eyes gradually lose the ability to see things clearly up close. Typically, it becomes noticeable for most people around age 45. It is a normal part of aging. In children and young adults, the lens inside the eye can easily focus on distant and near objects. With age, the lens loses its ability to focus adequately.
Although presbyopia is not completely understood, it is thought that the lens and its supporting structures lose the ability to make the lens longer during close vision effort as you age.
When you are young, the lens is soft and flexible, easily changing shape, allowing you to focus on objects both close-up and far away. After age 40, the lens becomes more rigid and it cannot change shape as easily, making it hard to read, thread a needle, or do other close-up tasks.
If presbyopia is left untreated, you will experience symptoms such as headaches, blurry near vision, and eyestrain.
During your consultation, your eye doctor will conduct a comprehensive eye exam that includes testing for presbyopia using several procedures to measure how the eyes focus light and to determine the power of any optical lenses needed to correct the reduced vision.
From the results of your eye testing, your doctor will determine if you have presbyopia and if so, will discuss treatment options for vision correction.
To compensate, affected individuals usually find that holding reading material further away makes the image clearer. Ultimately, aids such as reading glasses are typically needed by the mid-forties. Reading glasses help correct close-up vision problems by bending (refracting) light before it enters your eye. They can be bought without a prescription, but the specific power of reading glasses that you need should be determined by an eye exam.
If you already wear glasses for other vision problems, now you might need bifocals, trifocals, or progressive lenses, which may require a new prescription. Once you have a new prescription, our Optical Shoppe staff can provide you with quality personal care and service for all of your eyewear needs.
Besides glasses, presbyopia can be dealt with in a number of ways. Options include monovision and multifocal contact lenses. Monovision contact lenses correct one eye for distance vision and the other for close-up vision. Multifocal contact lenses have several rings or zones set at different powers where you are actually using both near and far vision at the same time. With either selection, you need to adapt to and train your brain to see this way.
Refractive surgery options are also available, including monovision laser vision correction where the eye surgeon uses a laser to reshape the cornea for clear far vision in one eye and close-up vision in the other. Before deciding on this type of surgery, your eye doctor may suggest you try wearing monovision contact lenses to see if monovision is a comfortable option for you. Other than monovision laser vision correction, there is also Clear Lens Exchange (CLE) where your eye surgeon replaces your eye’s clear natural lens with an artificial lens to correct your distance and near vision, reducing your need for reading glasses or bifocals.