Everything That You Need To Know About Presbyopia
What is presbyopia?
Presbyopia meaning is the gradual loss of your eye’s ability to focus on nearby objects. It has historically been an age-related condition, with symptoms usually beginning around age 40. However, more and more young people from as young as 25 are needing progressive lenses to help with short-range tasks. People suffering from presbyopia notice that it is harder to focus when reading, writing or working at the computer because you cannot see nearby objects quite as clearly. The reason is generally (but not always) age-related. As the eye’s crystalline lens ages, it produces more cells without discarding old ones, eventually becoming more rigid - meaning it cannot flex to see close-up work.
Presbyopia should not be confused with other common eye conditions, such as astigmatism, nearsightedness or farsightedness. These conditions are related to the shape of the eyeball and are enhanced by genetic and environmental factors. However, near vision loss associated with presbyopia is caused by a gradual thickening and loss of flexibility of the natural lens inside your eye.
Nowadays, presbyopia is a very common eye condition. In fact, 1 in 7 people worldwide are considered presbyopic and experience near vision loss to some degree because of these age-related symptoms. Essentially, around 1.8 billion people live with presbyopia. Around 30% of this group is over 40 years old.
Since Presbyopia is likely to be age-related, it is not preventable. Anyone above the age of 35 might have a risk of developing vision loss.
People who have this eye condition find they need to hold books, newspapers, menus and other reading materials at arm’s length in order for their eyes to focus properly.
How do I know if I have presbyopia? This is a common question when growing older and realizing that your eyesight isn’t what it used to be. The symptoms are usually related to the ability to see objects at a close range as well as difficulties reading small print. Other symptoms of presbyopia include:
Squinting, especially when looking at close range.
Having difficulties reading small print text.
Headaches and eye strain after reading.
Adjusting reading materials and holding it at arm's length.
Needing brighter conditions to read or work.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should ask your eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam. An eye exam will typically include various tests to check the health of your eye and distinguish any diseases or conditions. Even if you do not have any symptoms, an eye screening is recommended for adults at the age of 40 to identify vision change and any signs of various sight impairment.
What causes presbyopia?
The lens of the eye is flexible and elastic and can change its length or shape relatively easily. The eye is surrounded by muscles that help to shape and adjust the lens in order for it to be able to register both nearby and faraway objects.
Why do most people develop presbyopia as they age? Basically, your lens and muscle fibers gradually lose some of their elasticity as you age. This hardening of the lens affects both how the muscles can shape and adjust the lens but also how the lens can focus light onto the retina.
To summarise: it’s just a consequence of age. However, there are some ways to stave off the effects or treat them. The answer to the question of ‘how to cure presbyopia’ is that there are several treatments, such as:
Presbyopia treatment: eyewear
Treating presbyopia is fairly straightforward and there are a number of different presbyopia treatment options available. Prescription glasses with bifocal or progressive addition lenses (PALs) are the most common options for people with presbyopia symptoms.
Bifocal glasses are glasses constructed with two points of focus in their lenses. The center and the main part of the spectacle lens contains a prescription for distance vision, while the bottom portion of the lens is made for enhancing near vision, for example when you are reading a menu or doing some desk work. With this type of lens you can use one frame for two different eye conditions.
Progressive lenses are similar to bifocal lenses, but they have a gradual transition between the two prescription lenses. This means that there is no visible line on your eyeglasses, but your lens still has different focal points.
Reading glasses are another option for presbyopia sufferers. You can have these glasses fitted with your unique presbyopia prescription so you can wear these glasses whenever you need them. There are also non-prescription reading glasses that are available to buy online at SmartBuyGlasses.
Presbyopia treatment: contact lenses
Contact lenses are another good option for people suffering from presbyopia. Types of contact lenses include multifocal, bifocal or monovision.
Multifocal contact lenses are available to treat presbyopia symptoms, they come in both gas permeable and soft lens materials and allow the user to have multiple prescriptions in one pair of lenses. The most common multifocal contact lenses to treat presbyopia have a concentric design. This design has concentric circles which are useful for different ranges of vision.
Bifocal contact lenses offer the same visual correction as bifocal glasses. These lenses have an abrupt line that differentiates the two areas of the lens, with one area ideal for close-range and the other for long-range vision, for example.
Monovision contact lenses mean that users have a distance vision lens for one eye and a different contact lens for close work or reading in their other eye.
Modified monovision contact lenses are also available. The premise of these is that one eye uses a bifocal contact lens and the other one uses a distance vision lens. Both eyes can then be used for seeing far away, but one is used for reading. Your brain will adjust as needed and process the image, but it takes some time to get used to it.
Presbyopia treatment: surgery
There are a few surgical methods to treat presbyopia symptoms as well.
For instance, PresbyLASIK (lasik for presbyopia) is a new presbyopia-correcting surgery that is currently undergoing clinical trials in the U.S. This new procedure uses an excimer laser to create a multifocal ablation directly on the eye’s clear front surface. Presbyopia LASIK eye surgery helps patients to regain vision over multiple distances.
LASIK can also be used to create monovision, where one eye is corrected for near vision and the other eye is stronger for distance vision. This type of surgery is normally used to correct astigmatism, nearsightedness and farsightedness, but it can also be an excellent option for many people who suffer from presbyopia.
Some other experimental treatments are being tried as well. One study involves injecting an elastic gel into the capsular bag, which is the structure in the eye that contains the natural lens. In theory, the gel would replace the natural lens and serve as a new lens that would allow the eye to regain its original flexibility and elasticity.
There are also some cases in which people who undergo cataract surgery may be able to achieve clear vision at all distances if they choose to include a presbyopia-correcting intraocular lens in their surgery.