What is Presbyopia?

Presbyopia, or age-related farsightedness, is the progressive loss of accommodation whereby an individual loses the ability to see objects up close.  This natural aging phenomenon typically starts in the mid-40s and results in symptoms such as difficulty with reading small print, eyestrain, or even headaches.

What Causes Presbyopia?

Presbyopia is an age-related condition that typically begins around the age of 40. The muscle fibers will begin to lose their ability to flex which can cause the natural lens to harden and change its focus from a distance target to a near target. Due to this, light has a hard time focusing directly on the retina and will result in poor vision for objects that are up close. 

What are the Symptoms of Presbyopia?

One of the most common symptoms of presbyopia is eye strain that occurs when looking at something nearby. Other common symptoms include headaches and blurry vision when focusing on close objects.

Having trouble reading small print is one of the earliest signs of the condition developing. As you get older, the strength of your reading glasses will increase. People who already have an eye issue that requires them to wear glasses or contacts are more prone to the onset of presbyopia. People who experience a good deal of exposure to the sun or work at a job that requires a lot of focusing on close objects (like computer work) may develop this condition sooner or more rapidly as well.

Most individuals can easily deal with the symptoms of presbyopia by simply wearing reading glasses, bifocal glasses, progressive glasses, or multifocal contact lenses. For anyone seeking a more long-term solution, surgical options are available to eliminate the aggravating symptoms of presbyopia.

What are the Treatment Options for Presbyopia?

Common presbyopia treatments include lens implants, different kinds of refractive surgeries, and corrective lenses like contacts or glasses.

As in cataract surgery, a lens implant can be surgically placed in your eye, with your natural lens being removed. This allows you to regain the ability to see more clearly up close.  Another option is to use corrective lenses, glasses or contacts specially designed to treat this condition. Examples include prescription reading glasses, bifocals, trifocals, and multifocal contact lenses.

An alternative to treating presbyopia with multifocal lenses is monovision. With monovision, contact lenses are dispensed with one dominant eye being set for distance vision and the other non-dominant eye being set for near vision.  Many individuals will adapt very well to this option with proper time and counseling.

Surgical options that correct presbyopia include refractive lens exchange, LASIK and PRK. Refractive lens exchange involves removing each eye’s natural lens and replacing them with lens implants.  A multifocal lens implant, similar to a similar multifocal contact lens, is placed inside your eye and tailored according to your visual demands. LASIK and PRK are refractive surgeries that both involve reshaping the eye. PRK reshapes the outer part of the eye, discards a part of the epithelium, and then lets it heal to correct the problem. LASIK uses a laser to reshape the cornea by removing parts of the layers underneath it.

Call us or schedule an appointment to talk to one of our physicians about which option is best for you.

Can LASIK for Correct Presbyopia?

Many people are familiar with LASIK and wonder if it can cure presbyopia. While LASIK surgery correction improves the ability to focus on close-up objects for a long period of time, the procedure does not “cure” the problem. Essentially, LASIK can combat presbyopia but eye lenses will continue to accrue wear and tear as we age. During the surgery, a laser is used to create a flap in the cornea, and layers underneath it are taken out to reshape your eye lens so that light is sent at the correct angle to the retina.

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