Presbyopia: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

What Is Presbyopia?

If you're over 40 yrs old and small print has become hard to read or it appears blurry, these are symptom of presbyopia. This common and usually unavoidable side effect of aging will impact the majority of adults. Even if you haven’t experienced any vision problems in your life lives you will most likely notice symptoms of presbyopia sometime in our 40's. 

  • What is presbyopia

Here are some common symptoms of presbyopia that you can look out for:

  • Difficulty reading small print or text
  • Trouble focusing on objects close to you
  • Feeling like you need to hold books, your phone or the newspaper further away in order to see it clearly
  • Eye strain or headaches after reading or doing close work 
  • Requiring brighter light to be able to read 
  • Squinting when you're trying to read

What Causes Presbyopia?

Unlike conditions such as long-sightedness, short-sightedness or astigmatism, presbyopia is an inevitable change in our vision that affects over 1.4 billion people worldwide.

Presbyopia is caused by a number of factors but simply, as the crystalline lens inside the eye grows throughout our life it reaches a point where it is no longer able to change shape easily in order to focus on close objects. This is particularly noticeable in dim lighting. The result is difficulty reading small text and headaches and other symptoms described earlier.

When these symptoms begin to interrupt daily activity, you need to visit an optometrist to find out what your best options are.

What Is The Best Way To Treat Presbyopia?

The condition can be corrected with prescription glasses, contact lenses, or even refractive surgery. 

To help alleviate the symptoms, progressive lenses such as Varilux are often the first choice amongst patients with presbyopia. These 'multifocal' lenses, provide clear vision when viewing objects nearby, far away and any distance in between. Progressive lenses provide more natural the old style bifocal lenses, that often cause discomfort due to the visible line in the middle of the lenses and a high degree of uncertainty when negotiating stairs escalators and kerbs.

For added comfort in their progressive lenses, presbyopia sufferers often use photochromic lenses such as Transitions, which automatically adjust to a darker shade when in direct sunlight. Patients can also request for an anti-reflection coating such as Crizal for lenses to prevent ghost images and improve contrast.

Besides prescription glasses, there are other options for people suffering from presbyopia. Contact lenses are now available in a variety of styles that correct distance and near vision in the one lens. Monovision is also used where one contact lens is powered for distance vision and the other for near vision.

A more permanent solution to presbyopia is refractive eye surgery but this has the associated risks common to most surgeries. As with contact lenses, those with presbyopia can also opt for monovision surgery. LASIK surgery performed an ophthalmologists reshapes the cornea of one eye to correct for near vision while correcting the other cornea for distance vision.

It is recommended to consult your optometrist before making any decision regarding your eye health, and especially if it involves surgery or procedures that come with associated risks. Non-surgical solutions such as progressive lenses are risk-free and effectively manage the symptoms of presbyopia.

Think you might be suffering from presbyopia?

Visit your optometrist today to find out

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