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Presbyopia

December 15, 2015

You start to notice it slowly.  The fine wrinkles at the corner of your eyes.  The hairs that look like they might be gray.  And the reading material that looks blurry.  Growing older has it’s downside for sure.  While we can’t help you with the wrinkles or the hair we can tell you what might be going on with your vision.

If you find that the morning newspaper needs to be held further and further away to be clear or the text in your book looks blurry then you may have Presbyopia.  Presbyopia is the gradual loss of your eyes’ ability to focus on nearby objects. It’s a natural, often annoying part of aging. Many people become aware of presbyopia when they start holding books and newspapers at arm’s length to be able to read them. A basic eye exam with your eye doctor can confirm presbyopia.

What are the Symptoms of Presbyopia?

The American Optometric Association explains the main signs that you may be developing presbyopia. . .

  • Holding reading materials at arm’s length
  • Blurred vision at normal reading distance
  • Eye fatigue
  • Headaches when doing close work (sewing, handwork, reading, computer work)

What Causes Presbyopia?

As we age, the crystalline lens in the eye that bends the light in order to hit the retina loses elasticity. As your lens becomes less flexible, it can no longer change shape to focus on close-up images. As a result, these images appear out of focus.  Its effects can begin suddenly, usually around age 40, and can worsen over time.

How common is this and what are the risk factors involved in developing Presbyopia? 

This eye disorder is extremely common.  Millions of Americans report having Presbyopia.  The largest grouping are people over the age of 40.  Age is, in fact the greatest risk factor in developing presbyopia.  Almost everyone experiences some degree of presbyopia after age 40. Having other medical conditions can also be a factor leading to this.  For example, being farsighted or having certain diseases — such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis or cardiovascular diseases — can increase your risk of premature presbyopia, which is presbyopia in people younger than 40. Finally, certain medications are also associated with presbyopia.  For instance antidepressants, antihistamines and diuretics can be factors in premature presbyopia.

 

What are the Treatments for Presbyopia?

Eyeglasses are the simplest and safest means of correcting presbyopia. Eyeglasses for presbyopia have higher focusing power in the lower portion of the lens. This allows you to read through the lower portion of the lens and see properly at distant through the upper portion of the lens. It is also possible to purchase reading eyeglasses.For people who already wear eyeglasses bifocals may be an option.  Talk to your eye doctor about what options may be available for your unique eyes.