Presbyopia – Reading Difficulties

Ever heard of presbyopia? If you’re over the age 40, you have probably noticed changes in your vision. Most noticeably, would be changes in your near vision. This is called Presbyopia. It is the normal age-related loss of near focusing ability.

When you develop presbyopia, you may find that you need to hold books, magazines, newspapers, menus and other reading material at arms length in order to focus clearly. Near work, like writing or sewing may cause headaches, eye strain or you may feel tired.


What Causes Presbyopia?

Presbyopia is caused by an age-related process. It is due to the loss of elasticity and hardening of the natural lens inside your eye. As a result the eye has a harder time focusing up close. It differs from astigmatism, short-sightedness or far-sightedness, which are related to the shape of the eyeball and are caused by genetic and environmental factors.

Treatment Options for Presbyopia

The best way of treating presbyopia is with eyeglasses. Surgery is the other option.

Eyeglasses with bifocal or multifocal (progressive) lenses are the most common correction for presbyopia. Bifocal lenses have 2 focus points:

  1. The upper portion of the spectacle lens is designed for distance vision,
  2. The lower portion of the lens is designed for near vision.

The two portions of the eyeglasses are separated by a line.

Multifocal (progressive) lenses have a more gradual vision change between the two prescriptions, with no visible line between them.

Reading glasses are another choice. Unlike bifocals or multifocals, which you would wear all day, reading glasses are worn just during close work.

If you wear contact lenses, your optometrist can prescribe reading glasses, which you wear while your contact lenses  are in.

Multifocal contact lenses are also an option. These contact lenses work just as multifocal eyeglasses would, giving you clear vision at all distances.

Monovision is an option where one eye is corrected for distance and the other is corrected for near.

Your optometrist will discuss the best option for you.

The natural lens in your eye continues to change as you get older. Therefore, your presbyopia prescription will need to be increased over time as well. Your optometrist will prescribe a stronger correction for near work as you need it.

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