What is presbyopia?
If you are 40 or older and have noticed it’s been getting harder and harder to read small type, you may have a common condition called presbyopia - the weakening of the focusing mechanism within the eye.
It happens to us all
The condition is a natural part of aging; as you grow older, the lenses in your eyes thicken and lose their elasticity, and the muscles surrounding the lenses struggle to focus the eye. Both of these changes decrease your ability to focus, especially on near objects. Putting greater distance between the object and your eye brings the object into focus - for example, holding a book or mobile phone further from your face.
How can I tell if I have presbyopia?
The main symptom of presbyopia is blurred vision, especially when doing close work or trying to focus on near objects. The blurriness is worse in dim light or when you are fatigued. You may notice the tendency to hold reading materials farther away in order to read. Presbyopia can also cause headaches and/or eye strain. Presbyopia is usually diagnosed through a comprehensive eye exam.
Will my vision continue to get worse?
Near vision begins to decline due to presbyopia at around the time you enter your 40s. Presbyopia continues to progress - requiring changes to prescriptions for contact lenses or glasses - until you reach your early 60s. At this point, your vision should stop getting worse.
How is presbyopia treated?
Presbyopia can be corrected by wearing multifocal contact lenses or glasses. Multifocal contact lenses focus light from both near, intermediate and far distances to the back of the eye, creating the clearest possible image.
If I am noticing the effects of presbyopia, what should I do?
Presbyopia affects us all once we enter our 40s. If you notice the symptoms, make an appointment with your eye care practitioner. They will be able to advise you on the options available to meet your lifestyle needs. ‘Reading’ glasses are a common solution, although they may not be practical for your needs.