What is Presbyopia?
Presbyopia is the gradual loss of the eye to focus up close. Presbyopia comes from the Greek word presbys meaning old and opia meaning eye. Presbyopia begins in the forties and progresses through the fifties and then usually stabilizes. As we age presbyopia is an inevitable part of aging.
Cause of Presbyopia
Lens Becomes Stiff with Age
Most experts believe that it is the result of the crystalline lens losing its ability to change shape in order to focus images up close. The lens becomes less pliable and therefore cannot focus up close.
Muscles that Pull on the Lens Become Weaker
Some experts believe that the ciliary muscle that pulls on the lens to change its shape becomes weaker and therefore the lens loses its ability to focus.
Symptoms of Presbyopia
The first symptom of presbyopia is difficulty reading fine print up close and more commonly in the beginning in poor light.
Many people complain their arms are getting to short as the focusing becomes worse as they have to hold things further away in order to see them.
A slowing of the ability in changing focus from near to distance or distance to near is a common complaint.
Eyestrain when reading for longer periods of time often occurs.
Treatment of Presbyopia
Presbyopia is a part of the natural aging process and diet or exercise will not delay the onset of presbyopia. The most common way to correct near vision is with glasses or contact lenses.
A full reading glass works well but when looking at distance the vision will be blurred.
Half Glasses or Cheaters
These are the glasses that you think of with Benjamin Franklin. They provide good near vision. If the person does not need distance correction, they can look over the half glass to see at distance.
Bifocals provide good near vision. If the person needs correction for distance as well, then bifocals offer the most versatile solution as they provide clear distance and near vision. There are bifocals with lines and also bifocals without lines.
There are bifocal contact lenses on the market and some people are happy with the vision they provide. Other people prefer to wear one lens for near and the other for distance called monovision.
Surgical Treatment for Presbyopia
There are new surgical procedures that may provide for near vision. Some options include Conductive Keratoplasty, LASIK, PresbyLASIK, Autofocus, corneal inlays, accommodating IOLs, bifocal IOLs, and scleral expansion procedures.