What is Presbyopia?
Presbyopia is part of the eye’s natural aging process—it is the loss of the ability to see close objects or fine print clearly. Technically, presbyopia is the loss of the eye’s ability to change its focus from distance to near, because the natural lens in the eye loses flexibility. This typically begins to occur in people around the age of 40 to 45. It is not a disease. It’s as natural as wrinkles, and it affects everyone at some point in life.
What Are the Symptoms of Presbyopia?
Symptoms of presbyopia include:
• The need to hold reading material further away from your eyes to focus on it
• Blurred vision at normal reading distances.
• Headaches or fatigue from performing work at close ranges
How Can I be Sure I have Presbyopia and Not Something Else?
An eye doctor can diagnose presbyopia by performing a complete eye exam.
How Is Presbyopia Treated?
Presbyopia cannot be cured–there is no known way to maintain or restore the flexibility of the eye’s natural lens. Instead, over the counter reading glasses, prescription glasses, contact lenses, or bifocals can often help correct the effects of presbyopia. Sometimes patients will have LASIK surgery or cataract surgery to help correct the effects as well.
Bifocals are often prescribed for presbyopia. Bifocals are eyeglasses that have two different prescriptions in one spectacle lens. The top part of the lens corrects for distance vision and the lower portion of the lens is designed to help a person see objects up close. Progressive addition lenses are similar to bifocals but they are made to have a gradual or blended transition between the two prescriptions.
Contact lenses used to treat presbyopia include multifocal lenses, which come in soft or gas permeable versions, and monovision lenses, in which one eye wears a lens that aids in seeing objects at a distance, while the other has a lens that aids in near vision.
LASIK surgery can be performed to improve a person’s vision for either distance or for near. Some people will have their dominant eye set to see best at distance, and the other “non-dominant” eye to see best for near. This is called monovision and it works well for some people, who may not be able to tell there is a difference between the eyes. Other people prefer to have both eyes to be the same, and Monovision may not work well for them. During a LASIK evaluation, the providers at Tylock-George Eye Care can provide a trial frame to illustrate to you what monovision would look and feel like. It is best to talk with your doctor to find out which treatment is best for you.