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Everything you need to know about presbyopia

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One of the most common eye conditions, presbyopia is the typical loss of our near focusing ability. By the age of 50, most people will develop presbyopia in some form.

What causes presbyopia?

To put it simply: age. In young eyes, the lens inside the eye is able to easily flex in order to quickly focus on different things.

As our eyes age, our lenses start to lose their flexibility. Due to the slow hardening of the lens, the eye becomes less effective at focusing light on the retina.

The muscle fibres that surround the lens are also affected by ageing; further decreasing the ability to focus. Light is projected beyond the correct position on our retina, resulting in blurred vision.

Diagnosis

Open books

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If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms below, you might be developing presbyopia – particularly if you’re aged 45 or over. Common signs include:

  • Eye strain
  • Headaches and/or fatigue
  • Difficulty reading text up close
  • Holding items such as menus or newspapers at arm’s length to read

Can it be treated?

Optical equipment

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Multifocal contacts are the most common correction for contact lens wearers who develop presbyopia. These lenses are designed with a gradual transition between distance and near prescriptions, giving the wearer the ability to focus on objects both far and near.

If contacts are not for you, it can be possible to correct presbyopia with reading glasses. They’re an easy solution if you don’t require distance correction and you can find them in most pharmacies.

Your optician might also suggest progressive lenses. Unlike bifocals, they don’t have a distracting line to split distance and near vision. The prescription gradually changes throughout a singular lens, with distance at the top, and near vision at the bottom. They also allow for intermediate vision in the centre, which is great for looking at a computer screen.

Don’t want to wear contacts or glasses? PresbyLASIK might be the answer. It’s an advanced laser vision correction surgery that changes the physical shape of your cornea (the eye’s clear, protective outer layer). This creates different power zones which allow us to focus on objects at different distances.

Because the human eye continues to change as we grow older, your presbyopic prescription will probably increase over time too. We strongly recommend that you always keep up to date with your eye tests and let your Optician know about any changes you notice in your vision.