PRESBYOPIA (PREZ-BEE-O-PEA) is a condition that occurs between 40-45 years of age. The lens inside the eye gradually loses its elasticity, preventing it from focusing clearly at close distances during such activities as reading.
The lens, an important partner in the process of sight, is responsible for focusing light on the retina. In youth, the lens is flexible; with the help of tiny muscles in the eye, it quickly and seamlessly focuses on both near and distant objects by bending or flattening out when needed to bring a clear focus to the eye. With age and the accompanying loss of lens flexibility, it becomes more difficult for the lens to bend to a greater degree. In addition to a loss in the ability to bend, the lens responds more slowly with age. Therefore, it not only becomes difficult for the eye to focus on near objects, which requires a greater degree of flexibility. another symptom is the eye also does not adjust rapidly to changes in focus. For example, if you are sitting reading the newspaper, when you change your gaze to the TV, it may be blurry. Although presbyopia mimics the symptoms of hyperopia (farsightedness), it is completely different. Presbyopia is caused by a loss of elasticity in the LENS of the eye. It happens to EVERYONE at some time or another.
Holding things farther away to read
Headaches when reading
Difficulty reading menus
Thinking newspapers are using smaller fonts
Harder to thread a needle, or do small detailed work
Extending the arms to read may be
the first indication of presbyopia.
Presbyopia is the inability of the lens to
change shape to bring things into focus
Reading glasses or contact lenses. LASIK is usually not an option. There are other refractive procedures that can replace glasses or contacts. If you do not have other vision problems, such as nearsightedness or astigmatism, you may only need to wear glasses for reading or doing other tasks at a close range. If you do have other refractive problems, bifocal or progressive addition lenses are often prescribed. Contact lenses are also a preferred option for many people, either bifocals or monovision. With monovision one eye is corrected for distance viewing, and the non-dominant eye is corrected for close work. This works well for many people. Some patients can't tolerate it at all. We can determine that during your examination. Technology in bifocal contact lenses has greatly improved in recent years. If they work properly, you will not even know that they are in your eye.
The symptoms of presbyopia are ALSO the same for many another eye / systemic conditions. One should not attempt to self-diagnose by simply going to the drugstore and buying magnifying glasses. Magnifiers may also cause headaches. Some patients with a specific prescription, can get away with using over the counter reading glasses. The correct power can be determined during an eye examination.
Our staff and eye doctors may ask you a number of questions to help determine the best avenue of treatment. You may be asked to describe your usual lifestyle or daily activities. If your occupation involves reading the fine print for most of the day, different options would be considered than for a person who is not as dependent on near vision. So, your occupation, types of recreational activities, and general health status will give us clues about the lenses that would best fit your lifestyle.