You may have never heard of presbyopia, but it’s an incredibly common condition — it’s estimated that almost two billion people have it across the globe.
What is Presbyopia?
Presbyopia is the term used to describe the loss of near-focusing ability that normally occurs when we age. The majority of people will begin to notice that they struggle to see small print after the age of 40 — you might begin straining to read text messages, for example. Even if you have never had a vision problem before, presbyopia is not something that you can avoid. If you are nearsighted and wear glasses or contacts to correct your distance vision, you may still notice that your near vision is blurry.
Though presbyopia is normal, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t take a toll. Many people feel emotional in response to this because it’s a clear sign of aging. Without an eye doctor and proper vision care, presbyopia can significantly impact quality of life.
If you are over the age of 40, you can tell you are becoming presbyopic by how well you see nearby things. If you need to hold your smartphone, book, magazine, menu, or other item farther away from you to see more clearly as you age, you likely have presbyopia. This can be frustrating because moving things farther away from your eyes only temporarily helps because it is also difficult to read something that is smaller in size.
Some people with presbyopia may still see close objects well, but experience eye strain, headaches, and fatigue when reading or looking at close objects, making these more exhausting and less comfortable tasks.
Presbyopia occurs due to aging. Over time, the lens of your eye naturally thickens and becomes less flexible. These changes occur in the proteins of the lens, making them harder over time. In addition, aging affects the muscle fibers around the lens. Because it isn’t able to be more flexible, the eye struggles to focus on close objects.
How to Treat Presbyopia
Fortunately, there are ways to treat presbyopia so that it doesn’t have to have a serious impact on your quality of life.
The most popular option for treating presbyopia is glasses with progressive lenses. These are multifocal, line-free lenses that restore clear near vision and provide vision enhancement at all distances. Another option under this umbrella is eyeglasses with bifocal lenses. However, these often provide a more limited range of vision for people with presbyopia.
People with presbyopia may also notice that they are more sensitive to light and glare as they age. These individuals may benefit from photochromic lenses, which darken in sunlight.
Alternatively, reading glasses may be prescribed. Unlike bifocals or progressive lenses, which are usually worn all day, people with reading classes only need to wear them when looking at close objects. If you are a contact lens wearer, your eye doctor in Round Rock may prescribe reading glasses that you can use while you are wearing your contacts.
Any glasses used for presbyopia should include anti-reflective coating on the lenses. By eliminating reflections on the lens, this feature eases eye strain. In addition, if you struggle with glare or night driving, anti-reflective lenses can be very helpful.
If you would rather not wear glasses, there are also multifocal contact lenses. These are available in gas permeable and soft lens materials.
Another type of contact lens that can be prescribed for presbyopia is monovision. Monovision lenses allows one eye to wear a distance vision prescription, and the other a near vision prescription. This trains the brain to favor one eye for certain tasks and the other for other tasks. Some people have no problem with this solution, but others take issue with a loss of depth perception and reduced visual acuity.
The human eye continues to age, so over time, you will need to increase your prescription. Expect that you will need a stronger correction for near vision over time.
Lastly, for those who don’t want to wear contacts or glasses, there are surgical options to treat presbyopia. For example, implanting a corneal inlay has become a popular surgery. Generally, this involves implanting a corneal inlay in the cornea of your nondominant eye. The result is an increased depth of focus and reduced need for reading glasses, while still maintaining normal distance vision. If you’re curious whether or not you’re a candidate for this eye surgery, meet with your eye doctor in Round Rock for a consultation. We can work with you to determine whether or not you are a good candidate for this procedure.
Presbyopia is a normal part of the aging process that everyone will experience at some point. When you begin to notice the symptoms and signs, make sure to come visit your eye doctor at Round Rock Eye Consultants. We can help you with treatment options to ensure that you can comfortably continue your life as normal despite vision changes. Contact us to schedule an appointment today.