Our ability to switch focus freely and with perfect clarity between distant and up-close objects diminishes with age; until the switch in focus becomes more noticeable and more difficult.
Presbyopia is a condition that affects most people over the age of 40.
When we are young, the lens inside of our eye is extremely flexible, and allows us to easily focus on close objects. Over time, the lens gradually loses its flexibility, which makes it difficult to focus on close objects.
This condition is called presbyopia, and it is a normal part of the aging process that happens to everyone, even those who have never had a vision problem before. In the early stages of presbyopia, most people have difficulty reading small print, such as on a menu, a cell phone, or a newspaper.
People usually compensate for this, by holding reading materials further away, and in some cases by using additional light. As the condition progresses, most patients are unable to hold printed materials far enough away to see them clearly. Patients will often complain that their arms are not long enough anymore.
At this stage, most patients will require some type of near vision correction. Because the lenses inside our eyes continue to change over time, it is important to see your eye care professional regularly, for routine eye examinations.
Symptoms of presbyopia
When people develop presbyopia they find they need to hold books, magazines, newspapers, menus and other reading materials at arm’s length in order to focus properly. When they perform close up work such as handwriting they may develop headaches, eye strain or feel fatigued.
Causes of presbyopia
Presbyopia is believed to stem from a gradual thickening and loss of flexibility of the natural lens inside your eye; resulting in the need to wear different glasses for different focal lengths – near and far. Those who can currently see well at a distance will require glasses to assist close-up focus and vice-versa.
Treatment for presbyopia
There are a number of treatment options available, to help correct the changes in your vision caused by presbyopia. If you have no other vision problems, you may benefit from reading glasses alone.
Some people prefer the convenience of contact lenses. Contact lenses can also be designed to correct vision at a single distance, or vision at multiple distances. If glasses and contacts are not desired, presbyopia can be treated surgically.
Once presbyopia has started any treatment to the cornea, such as laser eye surgery, will only work for a short while as the lens will continue to change. For this reason Exeter Eye prefer to remove the ageing lens and replace it with a new lens which has the ability to see near and far which will last forever.