What is presbyopia?

Presbyopia is an eye defect in which one has trouble focussing at close range.

When we are born, our lenses are very flexible. Children are able to let the lens become thicker (accommodation), so that they can see objects right in front of the eye very clearly. However, this accommodative capacity decreases as we age. The lens becomes less flexible and can no longer bulge to the same degree, making it difficult to see objects at close range. We only tend to notice this when reading, usually from the age of approximately 40 years onwards.

This reduction in accommodative capacity is independent of other existing eye disorders and can occur simultaneously with short-sightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.

Presbyopia: symptoms

People who have not needed glasses before can experience difficulty reading from 40 years onwards. To stop letters from blurring, these people tend to stretch their arms when reading a book or newspaper, which is why this problem is sometimes referred to as ‘short arm syndrome’. This difficulty reading is accompanied by fatigue, headache and loss of concentration.

A brighter source of light is also required.

Presbyopia: causes

As a result of aging, the lens becomes harder and loses elasticity, making it difficult to focus at a short distance.

This is a natural age-related phenomenon that can not be prevented. Exactly when presbyopia occurs varies from person to person.

Presbyopia: treatment

Presbyopia often presents itself in combination with other eye disorders (myopia, hypermetropia and astigmatism) and can be corrected with reading glasses, glasses with bifocal or multifocal lenses or contact lenses.

Multifocal lenses do not provide an abrupt transition between the reading and the distant view sections and instead gradually increase in strength from top to bottom. This is an ideal solution if you suffer from multiple conditions.

Presbyopia is a progressive condition. The necessary strength of your reading glasses or contact lenses will continue to increase until you reach approximately 60 years old. Around this age, vision no longer deteriorates due to worsening presbyopia.