Presbyopia is a popular eye condition that comes about with aging. The disorder manifests as an inability to correctly focus on objects that are up close.
Presbyopia is a fairly common eye disorder. The condition becomes noticeable at the age of about 40 when one is unable to clearly see objects that are near.
It falls under the category of refractive errors, a wider group of eye disorders whose causes are related to refraction (bending) of light. It can occur at the same time with other refractive errors such as hyperopia (farsightedness) or myopia (nearsightedness).
Although irreversible, presbyopia is considered a normal condition that is relatively easy to manage.
Also Known As
Causes and Risk Factors
Presbyopia is considered a part of the aging process. Before the age of around 35, the lens is usually flexible and can easily change shape so as to correctly focus light on the retina. When it begins to harden with age, light falls at the back of the retina instead. This results in nearby objects appearing blurred.
Having farsightedness or other medical conditions such as diabetes or multiple sclerosis increases the risk of developing presbyopia. Some medications such as antidepressants also put one at a high risk.
Signs & Symptoms
- Having to read from a far distance to see clearly
- Blurred near vision
- Straining of the eyes
The diagnosis for presbyopia involves a comprehensive ophthalmologic exam. It may include a visual acuity test where the eye care provider uses a chart and lenses to test distance and vision. The eye care professional can also perform a dilated eye exam using drops. The drops are intended to make the eyes dilate so that the professional can easily see inside the eye.
The treatment for presbyopia is aimed at enabling proper near vision.
Presbyopia is easily managed with a pair of eyeglasses. The glasses can be issued over the counter without any prescription. However, one could also get prescription reading glasses, bifocals, or trifocals from an eye care professional. Contact lenses placed directly over the eye surface are another option. They are effective but can not be used by individuals with certain eye conditions e.g., dry eyes syndrome.
No surgical procedures are usually performed. However, in some cases, individuals may opt for a refractive surgery such as LASIK to alter the cornea’s shape. As a result, the focusing power on the retina is enhanced.
Eye care professionals can also perform a lens implant. This involves removing the ineffective lens and replacing it with a synthetic one (intraocular lens). However, the lens may cause side effects such as glares, bleeding, inflammation, and glaucoma.
An alternative surgical approach is the cornea inlays. The procedure involves inserting a plastic rings with an opening into the cornea. The ring acts as a pinhole camera that enables clear vision for close objects.
Presbyopia is persistent and may therefore last a lifetime.
The condition cannot be prevented. Eye care professionals recommend regular eye-checkups and proper management of chronic conditions to prevent premature presbyopia.