What Is Presbyopia?
Presbyopia is a vision condition in which the crystalline lens of your eye loses its flexibility. This results in difficulty in focusing on close objects. Presbyopia affects 100% of the population by age 50. Currently, bifocals are the only successful way to treat presbyopia.
What causes presbyopia?
Your eye stops growing in your early teens. The lens, however, continues to grow and produces more and more cells. Eventually, the lens loses some of its elasticity and therefore loses some focusing ability.
The crystalline lens allows the eye to vary its optical power, permitting individuals with normal vision to view distant objects and refocus their eyes to see near objects sharply. This ability begins to decline around age 40 with the onset of presbyopia (literally “old eye”) when the lens starts to lose its flexibility. Presbyopic individuals with normal vision need reading glasses while nearsighted and farsighted patients need bifocals for clear viewing at both distance and near.
People who have low myopia (3 diopters or less) often notice that they can read fine print comfortably without their glasses well past the age of 40. This is because their nearsightedness allows them to focus at near without the use of any additional optical power from their crystalline lens.
At what age does presbyopia occur?
It varies from person to person. Although presbyopia may seem to develop suddenly, the actual decline takes place over the course of many years. Presbyopia usually becomes apparent to people in their early to mid-forties.
What are signs/symptoms of presbyopia?
Some signs/symptoms of presbyopia include the tendency to hold reading material at arms length, blurred vision at normal reading distance and eye fatigue along with headaches when attempting to do close work.
Can presbyopia be prevented?
Unfortunately not. Presbyopia is a natural part of the aging process.
How is presbyopia diagnosed?
A comprehensive eye examination by Dr. Milano will include testing the quality of your near vision. This will determine the extent, if any, of presbyopia.
How is presbyopia treated?
To compensate for presbyopia, Dr. Milano may prescribe reading glasses, bifocals, trifocals, or contact lenses. Since presbyopia can complicate other common vision conditions like nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism, your optometrist will perform other tests to determine the specific lenses that will allow you to see clearly. The doctor will also ask questions about your physical health and your occupational and recreational activities. This information will aid in determining what type of lenses you need.
Bifocal lenses allow the user to view distance objects through the top portion of their glasses, and near objects with magnifiers added to the bottom portion of their glasses. Recently, these lenses can be blended together to produce a “progressive add” or “no line” bifocal.
Will I have to wear glasses all the time?
This will depend on a number of factors, including any other vision conditions you have. You may only need your glasses for reading, sewing or other close work. However, you may find that wearing your glasses all the time is more beneficial and convenient for your vision needs
Can I still wear contact lenses?
Great strides are being made in the area of contact lenses. New technology is making it possible for many vision conditions, including presbyopia, to be corrected with contact lenses. Dr. Milano can help decide what is right for you.
Why are frequent lens changes necessary after 40?
he effects of presbyopia constantly change the ability of the crystalline lens to focus properly. As a result, periodic changes in your eyewear are necessary to maintain correct vision.
How will presbyopia affect my lifestyle?
After adjusting to your new eyewear, you should find that you can still do all the things you did before. Presbyopia will probably not have a significant effect on your lifestyle.