All About Presbyopia
What is Presbyopia?
Presbyopia comes from the Greek word “old eye”. Despite the way it sounds, presbyopia is not a disease and is part of the natural aging process for both men and women. After the age of 40, many people find it harder to focus on nearby objects. It can progressively worsen until about the age of 60. Presbyopia is often confused with hyperopia, or farsightedness, because there are similar symptoms. However, the causes of presbyopia are not the same so it's important to understand the differences.
Trying to read a menu in a dim-lit restaurant is a nightmare for anyone with presbyopia. Needing to hold out a menu across the table and shine a phone light to read it is a clear sign of presbyopia. Symptoms of presbyopia include not being able to read materials up close, needing more light to read, and headaches and eye strain from doing close work.
Presbyopia occurs when there is an increase in thickness and a loss of flexibility of the lens inside of the eye. As we age, the muscle fibers of the clear lens behind the iris become less elastic and more rigid making it harder to change shape. Since the lens struggles to adjust, it is more difficult to focus on close objects resulting in blurry vision.
Presbyopia can be treated with glasses or contacts. Eyeglasses with progressive lenses gradually transition between prescription from the top to the bottom of the lens, whereas bifocals have two separate lens powers. Adding an anti-reflective (AR) coating onto the lenses will help your vision even more by eliminating glares. Reading glasses are another option (either single vision or bifocal) that don’t require a prescription. Aside from glasses, multifocal contacts are the equivalent to progressive lenses where there are multiple prescriptions in one lens that transition from distant to intermediate to near. It may take some time to get used to progressive lenses or multifocal contacts. Talk to you optometrist if you need assistance throughout your adjustment period.
If you suspect you may have presbyopia, talk to your eye doctor. They can perform a comprehensive eye exam to properly diagnose you and suggest the correct treatment options.