Presbyopia is the normal loss of your eyes being able to see things clearly up close. It is a natural part of aging that becomes noticeable in your early to mid 40s. It can be treated with reading glasses, contact lenses or Laser Blended Vision
What is Presbyopia?
Presbyopia is the normal loss of your eyes being able to see things clearly up close. It is a natural part of aging that becomes noticeable in your early to mid 40s and continues to worsen until around the age 60.
You can’t escape presbyopia, even if you’ve never had a vision problem before.
It is also common to have presbyopia and another type of refractive error at the same time such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism.
What are the symptoms of Presbyopia?
Some of the symptoms of presbyopia include:
- Difficulty reading small print such as texts on your phone
- Having to hold reading material farther away at arm’s length
- Problems seeing objects that are close to you
- Eyestrain when reading for long periods or in dim light
- Blurring of near objects or momentarily blurred vision when transitioning between far away and close up
If you wear glasses or contact lenses and still experience these symptoms you may require a new prescription.
What causes Presbyopia?
Vision occurs when light rays are bent (refracted) by the cornea and the lens. The light is focused directly on the retina, which converts the light-rays into messages that are sent through the optic nerve to the brain. The brain interprets these messages into images that we see.
When we are younger, the lens of the eye is soft and flexible, allowing the tiny muscles inside the eye to easily reshape the lens to focus on close and distant objects.
As we age the lens hardens and loses its flexibility and the eye is not able to focus light directly onto the retina. The muscle fibres around the lens become less elastic making it harder to move the lens and for the eye to focus on close objects. This ineffective lens movement causes light to focus behind the retina, which causes poor vision for objects that are up close.
How is Presbyopia diagnosed?
If you’re experiencing the symptoms described, it would be worthwhile having your eyes checked by an eye professional. Presbyopia is diagnosed by a basic eye exam. Your eye doctor or optometrist will most likely put drops in your eyes to dilate your pupils which makes it more easy to evaluate the inside of your eyes. They use various instruments to look through several lenses to test your distance and close up vision and exclude any eye disease.
How is Presbyopia treated?
Presbyopia can be managed with eyeglasses or contact lenses or corrected with Laser Blended Vision surgery.
If you already wear eyeglasses for other vision problems, then you may now require bifocals, trifocals, or progressive lenses. If presbyopia is your only vision problem then reading glasses may be all you need.
Some people prefer to wear contact lenses and there are two types that help presbyopia: monovision contacts and multifocal contacts.
Monovision corrects one eye for distance vision and the other for close up vision. Over time the brain adapts to see this way. About 85% of people can tolerate monovision.
Multifocal contacts have zones set at different powers so you are actually using both near and far vision at the same time and your brain learns to automatically select the right focus for what you want to see. Some people find a multifocal lens makes their vision loss contrast and less sharp than using a monofocal lens.
Refractive Surgery - Laser Blended Vision
Some people don’t wish to have complicated prescriptions or progressive lenses, and other people don’t wish to start wearing glasses announcing the arrival of middle age.
Ophthalmologists can now offer Laser Blended Vision, a very accurate surgical option. This laser refractive surgery corrects the dominant eye mainly for distance vision and the non-dominant eye mainly for near vision, with the depth of the field of each eye being increased. By increasing the depth of your visual field, the brain merges the two images which creates a “blend zone”. This zone is a focus for both eyes overlapping and working together, which allow you to see near, middle and distance vision removing the need for glasses altogether and is suitable for 97% of ageing eyes.
Because the eyes are able to work together at all distances, Laser Blended Vision is much better tolerated than traditional monovision.