Ophthalmology

Presbyopia

Introduction to Presbyopia

Presbyopia is age-related long-sightedness, developed as a result of the lens losing its elasticity. It usually becomes noticeable after 40 and reduces a person ‘s ability to focus on objects nearby.

Written by Doctify Team 27/04/2020

What is Presbyopia?

Presbyopia is age-related long-sightedness, developed as a result of the lens losing its elasticity. It usually becomes noticeable after the age of 40 and reduces a person ‘s ability to focus on objects near to them, but will not affect the ability to see distant objects. Vision problems such as this are often termed refractive errors, and can be identified early during an eye examination. Presbyopia will worsen with age, however can be corrected with prescription glasses or contact lenses.

What are the causes for Presbyopia?

The lens is very flexible and required for the eye to focus on objects at varying distances. In youth, it enables most to see clearly near and far by either stretching or shortening to sharpen the image. As one ages however, the lens grows thicker and loses its flexibility, which means it can no longer change shape as easily. As a result, people who never previously required glasses start to notice vision changes, and may required prescription glasses or contact lens.

What are the symptoms of Presbyopia?

Presbyopia normally becomes apparent after the age of 40, and results in near objects become blurred, whilst distant objects remain clear. This is especially apparent when reading, writing or working at a computer. To compensate for the blurred image, eyes with try to manually reshape your lens resulting in a squint, which will tire your eyes out very quickly. This can lead to eye pain or a burning sensation, and can be a cause of recurrent headaches.

How is Presbyopia treated?

Presbyopia is normally corrected with reading glasses, which are only necessary to be worn when working, and are available in most pharmacies, opticians and supermarkets. Those who also have myopia often find that bifocal or varifocal glasses are a better solution once presbyopia develops. Multifocal contact lenses are also a solution, and will work much in the same way as glasses. However, since the lens’ elasticity will deteriorate with age, the prescription will need to be increased over time to maintain clear vision. There are also surgical treatments available to reduce the need for glasses for patients of any age.  These are not usually available on the NHS, but include specialist laser eye surgery and multifocal lens implant techniques.

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