What is presbyopia and how does it affect vision?

Declining vision can be a normal part of ageing, in fact, ‘presbyopia’ means ‘old eye’ in Greek. But how does presbyopia affect vision and what can be done about it?

Presbyopia is the name given to a vision disorder that occurs with the normal aging process of the eye. In particular, it is the gradual deterioration in the ability of the lens (inside the eye) to be able to focus on near objects. This is separate from other types of refractive error such as myopia (shortsightedness), hyperopia (longsightedness) and astigmatism.

Causes of presbyopia

At a young age, the lens is quite flexible, much like a rubber band. It changes shape quickly and easily for you to be able to focus from distance to near. However with age, typically between 40 and 50, the ability to focus at near becomes more difficult because the lens starts to lose its elasticity.

Signs & Symptoms

The obvious sign that someone has presbyopia is that they tend to hold things further away when trying to read. This is because the eye is losing the ability to focus at near distance. However other symptoms you may feel apart from the visual blur can include just simply having tired eyes or headaches after near work. Remembering this is a gradual decline in near vision with, some people still have the ability to focus at near quite well however it is also common to see there is a much longer delay switching from distance to near focus or vice versa. An indication that your eyes are not working efficiently.

Prevention and treatment

Unfortunately, there are no magic eye drops or eye exercises to improve the normal aging process of the eye. However, there are different ways to restore your vision back to its previous capacity.

Reading glasses are the most common and simple aide to return your sight for near-tasks. However more convenient options such as bifocals or multifocals mean you won’t be taking the glasses on and off all the time. Wearing glasses will not accelerate presbyopia, nor will it slow it down either. Even newer technology in the world of multifocal contact lenses means glasses are not the only solution nowadays too.

It’s best to see your local optometrist to get the right prescription and solution for your needs to ensure your eyes are treated correctly.


Eating for eye health

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