Presbyopia – Definition, Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
What is Presbyopia?
It is a condition in which the lens of the eye becomes progressively unable to focus on objects close to the viewer. The condition is a normal part of the aging process and, in fact, the word’s origins are from the Greek words “presby” and “ops” meaning “old eye”.
What are the Causes?
There are current two schools of thought about the causes of Presbyopia:
1. As one ages, the lens becomes drier and less flexible which hinders its ability to focus on near objects.
2. The lens grows throughout ones life but the other parts of the eyes do not. This change in the relationship between the size of the lens and the other parts of the eyes results in difficulty focusing on close objects.
Presbyopia is a natural part of the aging process and will affect everyone to different extents. There are currently no preventative processes or procedures to prevent or delay the onset presbyopia.
What are the Symptoms?
The first symptoms of this are usually noticed between 40 and 50 years old. Most individuals report some or all of the following:
- Difficultly focusing when reading
- Problems focusing on objects close to their eyes
- Headaches or eyestrain after doing close work or reading
- Holding reading material away from the face to make the text clearer
- Needing brighter light to do certain tasks
- Progressive far-sightedness, where distant objects are clear and those close-up are blurred
These symptoms tend to progress over time, as the patient ages. Many sufferers delay seeking treatment for this thinking that it is just a part of growing old. However, there are currently many treatment options available for those with the disorder, both non-invasive and surgical.
What are the Treatments?
The most common treatment for those suffering with this is corrective lenses, either eyeglasses or contacts. There are several different types of glasses available, including reading glasses, which are worn when reading or working on near objects, bifocals in which the top part of the lens is used to treat other sight problems and the lower portion of the lens corrects the this, and trifocals, which have three points of focus. For individuals who choose to wear contacts, there are also bifocal options as well as “monovision”, in which one lens corrects for near objects and the other corrects for distance .
The most common type of eye surgery, LASIK, is not effective for the treatment of this. There are several promising surgical techniques currently in development but none are yet available outside of clinical trials.
If, however, an individual suffers from cataracts and thus requires a lens replacement, it can be treated as well. This involves the implantation of an accommodative lens that bends and expands like the lens in a young person’s eye.
Other pages that you should read.
Myopia is also known as Nearsightedness or short sightedness
Hyperopia also known as "farsightedness" or "long-sightedness"
Astigmatism is an Eye Condition
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Presbyopia to Protect Your Eyesight