One of the most common indicators that you are entering the “middle aged” phase of life is the need for reading glasses. The aging process impacts your eyes as well as the rest of your body. One of the most common age-related vision conditions affecting all people is called presbyopia. It results in a loss of near vision, and it generally develops after the age of 40 or 45. Presbyopia is a progressive condition and develops slowly over the course of time.
If you have enjoyed clear vision for your entire life, you may find this initial blurriness to be a bit odd. It will first become noticeable when viewing small objects up-close. Activities such as reading or sewing may become more difficult. You may even find yourself holding a book farther away in order to read it clearly. As the condition continues to develop, you may eventually need reading glasses in order to see clearly at close distances.
Causes of Presbyopia
There are two structures in your eye which help focus light in order to see images clearly — the cornea (the outer surface of the eye) and the lens. The cornea is generally responsible for about 60% of the focusing of light, while your lens handles the remaining 40%. While the curvature in your cornea is fixed and does not change over time, your eye’s lens has a flexible curvature that is constantly adjusting based on how close the object you are viewing is from you. To focus clearly on near objects, your lens becomes steeper. To focus clearly on distance objects, your lens becomes flatter.
As you get older, your lens becomes less flexible and cannot change its curvature as easily. This generally occurs around the age of 40. Your lens stays flat enough to focus clearly on images at a distance, but it is no longer able to become steep enough to focus clearly on up-close objects. This loss of your lens’ flexibility is what causes the vision problems associated with presbyopia.
Treatments for Presbyopia
There are several potential treatments for presbyopia. The most common treatment is still glasses or contact lenses. If you are already wearing glasses to correct refractive vision errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism, then you may need bifocals or trifocals as presbyopia develops. If you have previously enjoyed clear vision, then you will most likely just need reading glasses.
If you would like to eliminate your dependence on glasses and contact lenses, then you may want to consider one of the following options:
Monovision is a technique that corrects one eye for near vision and if necessary, the other eye for distance vision. As a result, your brain will interpret different sets of images from each eye. Monovision can be achieved using contact lenses or with LASIK. However, only about 75% of people can successfully adjust to monovision. If you are considering monovision LASIK, you should try it with contact lenses for six months to a year in order to be certain your brain can adjust properly.
An intraocular lens (IOL) is an artificial lens that gets inserted into your eye to replace your eye’s poorly performing natural lens. IOLs are commonly used to treat patients with cataracts. However, certain premium IOLs can also be used to correct vision issues associated with presbyopia.
Please contact Eye Care Specialists today to schedule a presbyopia eye exam with one of our experienced ophthalmologists. We serve patients in Scranton, Wilkes Barre, Kingston, and throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania.