What is Presbyopia?
Presbyopia is an age-related vision condition characterized by the inability to focus up close. Presbyopia is a natural phenomenon and affects individuals over the age of 40.
Causes and Risks
As we grow older, the anatomy of our eyes begins to change. The lens of the youthful eye is a flexible structure, which gives it the ability to quickly adjust its shape in order to accurately focus light. Just as our aging skin loses it responsive elasticity, so does the aging lens. As a result, as we enter middle and old age, we gradually lose our ability to focus with precision.
If you have other vision disorders such as nearsightedness (myopia) or farsightedness (hyperopia), presbyopia will present itself alongside these other conditions.
Symptoms and Signs
The most recognizable sign of presbyopia is a reduced ability read to or perform tasks that require close work. This deterioration of vision can cause eye fatigue and headaches. Common signs of presbyopia include:
- Eyestrain and fatigue
- Blurry vision
- Problems reading, especially small print
- Hard time focusing on objects that are close
- Difficulty doing tasks requiring acute close-up vision, such as sewing
Diagnosis of Presbyopia at Beach Eye, Huntington Beach, CA
A routine eye exam at Beach Eye with Dr. Khalil Semaan can confirm if you have presbyopia. During your eye evaluation, we will examine your cornea (the transparent front “window” of the eye) as well as the retina and optic nerve (tissues located at the back of the eye). Drops may be administered to dilate the pupils so that the back of the eye can be seen more easily.
Treatment of Presbyopia
The most common way to improve presbyopia is with corrective lenses. Refractive surgery, which can eliminate or minimize the need for corrective lenses, is also an option for some. Some corrective options are described are as follows:
- Prescription reading glasses are suitable for those who do not have any other vision problems.
- Bifocals have two lenses, each with a different focal length.
- Trifocals, like bifocals correct for near and far vision. However they also have a lens that corrects for intermediate vision (viewing computer screens, for example)
- Progressive eyeglasses are like bifocals or trifocals. However, they are designed with a gradual change in the lenses so that you do not see the visible horizontal lines between focal lengths.
- Monovision contact lenses correct one eye for close-up vision and the other eye for distance vision. The lens for distance vision is usually worn in the dominant eye.
- Modified monovision contact lenses can be bifocal or multifocal. Because each contact lens contains different focus zones, they enable both near and far vision in each eye.
- Refractive surgery, such as LASIK or LASEK, is a procedure that changes the shape of your cornea to correct your vision. In the case of presbyopia, one eye is corrected for distance and the other for close-up vision. It should be noted that corrective glasses may still be needed after surgery.
- Intraocular lens implants, or IOL’s, are synthetic lenses that replace the natural ones. IOL’s allow you to see both near and far and some IOL’s can change shape within the eye (called accommodative lenses).
The specialists at Beach Eye Medical Group can recommend the best corrective option for you. We offer customized solutions that address your vision and match your lifestyle.
As you age, it is important to have regular eye exams. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends a routine eye exam every two to four years for individuals between the ages of 40 and 54. For individuals between 55 and 64, an eye exam should be performed every one to three years. For those over 65, an eye exam is recommended every year. Contact us to schedule your regular exam.