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Presbyopia

Age-related Reading Problems

Signs and Symptoms


This is when your near vision becomes blurry with age. When you become presbyopic, you start to struggle to see up close and have to hold reading material (books, phone, magazines, menus, ingredients on packaging, etc.) further from your eyes in order to see them more clearly. Increasing font size can also help, but eventually, presbyopia leads to the need for reading glasses to focus all objects up close (including the food on your plate).

Carrying out near vision tasks when presbyopic can cause eyestrain, headaches, tiredness and blurred vision if attempting to do these tasks uncorrected.

Causes of Presbyopia

Presbyopia is part of the eye’s natural ageing process. It happens because the lens inside the eye (crystalline lens) starts to become less flexible and elastic with age. This causes difficulty focussing on near objects. It starts at some point from the age of 40 onwards and is said to affect women earlier than men.

Treatments


Presbyopia can be corrected with glasses to change the way light enters the eyes. They can come in various forms from single vision to varifocal or bifocals, depending on your age and existing levels of your distance vision.

For those who still have perfect distance vision they often only need to put glasses on for the near task at hand and then remove the glasses to see in the distance.

Laser

Laser refractive surgery can be an option for those suffering from presbyopia, but only in the form of monovision. With monovision, one eye is “set” for distance focus, and the other eye is set for better near focus which allows a patient to see both distance and near images without glasses by having blended visual focal points. Whilst it is not a “perfect” solution to presbyopia, for carefully selected patients, it is well tolerated and very satisfactory. It is also not a permanent solution and does require a top up after approximately 5 years.

Clear Lens Replacement

A permanent solution for patients who are presbyopic is Clear Lens Replacement. This is a refractive surgery option where the crystalline lens of the eye is replaced with an artificial (intraocular) lens that refocuses the light to allow it to focus onto the retina. Normally trifocal lenses are implanted which allows the patient to experience clear vision at distance and near.

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