Presbyopia: Its Meaning, Causes & Treatment

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April 13, 2023

The eye condition called presbyopia means that your eyes gradually lose the ability to focus on close objects. This is due to the natural aging process, where our eye lenses become less flexible, hence losing their ability to change shape to focus on close objects. As a result, people with presbyopia may have difficulty reading small print, using a computer, or performing other close-up tasks as they will appear blurry.

So when you are reading a book by the beach and find it hard to read after you shift your sight from the boat in the ocean, you might suffer from presbyopia. And instead of inconveniently holding the book further away just to read clearly, consider paying a visit to an eye clinic.

How does presbyopia happen?

When we are young, our eye lenses are flexible and can change their shape easily to focus on objects at various distances. But as we become older, the lens in our eyes hardens, causing it to lose flexibility gradually and the ability to change shape. This loss of flexibility makes it harder for the lens to focus on close objects, leading to presbyopia. This explains why presbyopia doesn’t occur at a young age, but begins around the age of 40 and continues to progress until around the late 60s — when it usually stabilizes.

However, certain illnesses or medications may cause presbyopia in people younger than age 40. And when presbyopia symptoms appear earlier than they are supposed to, it’s called premature presbyopia. But only in rare cases, as presbyopia can occur at a young age.

Other factors that can contribute to the development of presbyopia include certain medical conditions such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, or cardiovascular disease while specific medications, such as antihistamines, antidepressants, or diuretics. The likelihood of getting the condition may also be influenced by eye injuries, prolonged UV exposure, and a family history of the disorder.

Symptoms of presbyopia

The most obvious symptom of presbyopia is when near objects appear blurry. But you will notice some other common symptoms as well including:

  1. Difficulty reading small print: Reading the small print on a book, smartphone, or any reading materials can be challenging, particularly in low-light conditions.
  2. Eye strain: Presbyopia can cause eye strain, especially when reading or doing other close-up activities for an extended period of time.
  3. Headaches: Some people with presbyopia may experience headaches or dizziness due to eye strain. The aching pain may start at the base of the head and radiate up to the temples and forehead.
  4. Constantly hold objects further away to see them clearly: Some people may find themselves holding objects at arm’s length to see clearly because the eye’s ability to focus on close objects declines.
  5. Squinting: Squinting can temporarily alleviate blurry vision by changing the shape of the eye. As a result, some people with presbyopia may find themselves squinting so often to see well.

 

Presbyopia Diagnosis & Treatment

If you are experiencing symptoms of presbyopia, such as blurred vision or eye strain, it is important to seek a diagnosis from an eye doctor. In this process, the doctor will perform a comprehensive eye exam to evaluate your vision and determine the extent of your presbyopia.

Presbyopia diagnosis usually involves a comprehensive eye exam by an optometrist or ophthalmologist. During the exam, the doctor will check your vision, test the muscles that control your eyes, and evaluate the reaction of your pupils to light. They may also dilate your pupils to examine the internal structures of your eyes.

The exam may also include a visual acuity test — which measures how well you can see from a distance, coupled with a refraction test to determine your exact eyeglass prescription.

While presbyopia cannot be cured, there are presbyopia treatment options available that can help alleviate the symptoms. The doctor will determine the extent of your presbyopia and recommend appropriate treatment options, such as eyeglasses, contact lenses, or surgery.

    1. Reading glasses: These are the most common treatment for presbyopia. They can be purchased over the counter or prescribed by an eye doctor. Reading glasses are designed to magnify close-up objects and improve near vision.
    2. Progressive lenses: Also known as no-line bifocals, these lenses provide a gradual transition from distance to near vision, making them the most preferred choice for those who need correction for both near and far vision.
    3. Bifocal or trifocal glasses: These glasses have two or three distinct areas of vision correction, with the top part for distance and the lower part for near vision. They can be made with or without visible lines.
    4. Contact lenses: There are multifocal contact lenses available that can correct both near and far vision. Monovision contact lenses can also be an option where one eye is corrected for near vision and the other eye is for further distance.
    5. Surgery: Various surgical procedures such as clear lens exchange, monovision LASIK, conductive keratoplasty (CK), or corneal inlays — can be performed as presbyopia treatment. However, these options should be discussed in detail with an eye doctor to determine if they are appropriate for you.


With proper treatment, presbyopia can be effectively managed, allowing people to continue enjoying better vision well into their golden years.

Final Say

As you approach mid-40 and begin to notice that reading small text is becoming increasingly difficult, consider getting your eyes examined. But even if you’re not experiencing any symptoms, you ought to have an eye examination by the age of 40.

All in all, having presbyopia doesn’t mean your eyes cannot be corrected. Consult with experienced eye doctors at VISTA Eye Specialist to determine which presbyopia treatment option is best for your specific needs and lifestyle. Our team of qualified doctors is always ready to assist with any health issues concerning your eyes.

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