Presbyopia: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments
What Is Presbyopia?
Small print can become hard to read as it appears blurry. This is generally a symptom of presbyopia and is documented as an unavoidable side effect of aging for the majority of adults. Even those of us who haven’t experienced any vision problems in our lives will likely begin to notice symptoms of presbyopia as we approach our 40’s.
Presbyopia can manifest in many ways, which often makes diagnosis a bit difficult. However, as we get older it is possible that these symptoms might be a sign of the eye condition.
Here are some common symptoms of presbyopia that you can look out for:
- Eye strain or headaches after reading or doing close work
- Difficulty reading small print or text
- Eye fatigue when focusing intently on text or objects
- Requiring brighter light to be able to read
- Not being able to focus on text up-close
- Trouble focusing on objects close to you
What Causes Presbyopia?
Unlike conditions such as farsightedness, nearsightedness or astigmatism, presbyopia is an inevitable problem predicted to affect over 1.4 billion people by 2020.
As the natural lens of the eye loses flexibility, its density changes. This lack of flexibility puts additional strain on the surrounding muscles making some items difficult to see. This is particularly noticeable in dim lighting where the eyes are strained further. This results in difficulty reading small text and even headaches.
When these symptoms begin to interrupt daily activity, visit an optometrist to find out what your best options are.
What Is The Best Way To Treat Presbyopia?
The condition can be corrected with prescription glasses, contact lenses or surgery. It is recommended to avoid over-the-counter reading glasses as the refractive lens power may not meet the needs of an individual’s diagnosis.
To help alleviate some of the symptoms, progressive lenses such as Varilux®are often the first choice with patients that have presbyopia. They are multi-focal lenses, providing clearer vision when viewing objects nearby, far away and any distance in between. Bifocal lenses, on the other hand, correct far and near vision errors, but often cause discomfort due to the visible line in the middle of the lenses.
For the most comfortable vision, presbyopia sufferers often use photochromic lenses such as Transitions™, which automatically adjust to a darker shade when in direct sunlight. They are often used in combination with progressive lenses, providing presbyopia sufferers with clear and unhindered vision. Patients can also request for an anti-reflective coating such as Crizal® for lenses to relieve eye strain, another drawback of presbyopia.
Besides prescription glasses, there are other options for people suffering from presbyopia. Contact lenses are a corrective option that mimic prescription glasses in refractive power and purpose, but are placed directly on the eye.
A more permanent solution to presbyopia could be surgery, but comes with the associated risks common to most surgeries. Those with presbyopia can opt to seek surgery to achieve monovision. LASIK surgery is a surgery performed by an ophthalmologist that reshapes the cornea of one eye to correct nearsighted vision, while correcting the other cornea for farsighted vision.
It is recommended to consult a professional before making any decision regarding your eye health, and especially if it involves surgery or procedures that come with associated risks. Non-surgical solutions such as corrective lenses are risk-free and effectively manage the symptoms of presbyopia.
Think you might be suffering from presbyopia?
Visit your optometrist today to find out.