Literally “aging eye”, Presbyopia is a condition of reduced elasticity of the lens. This loss of elasticity affects the ability of the eye to focus on close objects. Presbyopia is not actually a disease of the eye, even though it may be a progressive condition. It’s a refractive disorder caused by the normal aging process where the eye no longer focuses properly.

Symptoms of Presbyopia can be similar to those of Hyperopia, including difficulty with reading, eyestrain and squinting, or headaches. A classic sign of Presbyopia is when someone holds a magazine or book at arm’s length to read it.

What Causes Presbyopia?

For most children and young adults, the lenses in their eyes are soft and flexible, allowing them to change shape easily, and focus on objects that are near and far away. After about the age of 40, the lens starts to become less flexible, so it can’t focus as easily as it once did on closer objects.

How Common Is Presbyopia?

Almost everyone develops Presbyopia to one degree or another.

How Is Presbyopia Treated?

There are several ways to treat Presbyopia:

  • Inexpensive reading glasses purchased from a drug store or retail store. If you choose this option, it’s important to select the weakest magnification that allows you to read newspaper-size print easily.
  • Higher-quality reading glasses prescribed by an eye doctor.
  • For contact lens wearers, an eye doctor can prescribe reading glasses that can be worn with regular contacts.
  • Prescription eyeglasses with bifocal or progressive lenses.
  • Multifocal contact lenses.
  • Monovision contact lenses, with one contact set for distance, and the other set for close work. The brain adapts to using only one eye at a time for different tasks.
  • Conductive Keratoplasty (CK) surgery, which uses radio waves to reshape the cornea and improve near vision. This correction is only temporary, diminishing over time.
  • LASIK surgery can correct one eye for near vision and the other eye for distance vision, similar to monovision contact lenses.
  • PresbyLASIK surgery (still undergoing clinical trials in the U.S.) uses an excimer laser to create multifocal zones directly on the cornea, similar to muktuifocal contact lenses.
  • Refractive lens exchange replaces your original natural lens with an artificial to correct the symptoms of Presbyopia, which gives you multifocal vision.

None of the above methods is best for all situations. What’s best for you depends on your eyes and lifestyle. As your eye’s lens continue to change over time, you will probably need to have your prescription changed to a stronger prescription.

Can Presbyopia Cause Other Problems?

If someone also has one of the other refractive disorders the two (or more) conditions will act in combination. This can cause additional problems, but it can also be beneficial. for example, Myopia and Presbyopia can sometimes mitigate each other.