What is Presbyopia? (Fast Facts)
Our eyes are complicated, highly evolved organs. They also happen to be one of the most fragile parts of our bodies, especially because much of our eye is external. For these reasons, eye conditions are a normal part of life; most are mild and can be treated and/or prevented.
One such eye condition which is commonplace is known as “presbyopia.” With such a lofty name, you would think the condition was rare or severe. We thought we’d cover the basics of presbyopia to put your mind at ease.
Presbyopia in a Nutshell
Presbyopia is Greek for “old eye.” This etymological fact might tell you all you need to know about the condition. To put it simply, presbyopia is the extremely common condition of not seeing objects close up, which occurs in middle or old age.
The cause of presbyopia is due to how our eyes function. If you’ve ever worn contact lenses, then you might be surprised to know that the inside of your eye has a natural lens that functions in much the same way. It’s a flexible, clear membrane that bends to bring objects into focus whether they are close or far away.
If you’ve ever left a contact lens out, or overused a lens, then you might also understand that this material can grow rigid. So, too, does the lens in your eye. As you age, the flexible properties of your lens decrease, making it harder for it to change shape and focus on objects close up. For this reason, presbyopia happens to everyone but impacts some more than others.
The symptoms of presbyopia are so common that they are often simply considered to be symptoms of old age:
- Inability to see objects up close
- Needing to hold things far away to see them (like books or restaurant menus)
- Chronic headaches
- Eye fatigue
Ways to Prevent Presbyopia
We hate to disappoint you, but there is no way to prevent or even proactively minimize presbyopia. Presbyopia affects nearly 90% of the middle age and older population. Genetics plays a major role in just how much presbyopia impacts you.
Treatment for Presbyopia
While you can’t do anything to prevent presbyopia, you can certainly be on the lookout for its symptoms and act accordingly with a treatment plan. Yes, it’s possible to correct presbyopia, just as how it’s possible to correct most other problems with your vision:
- Eye drops – drops containing pilocarpine hydrochloride ophthalmic solution can be used daily to reduce the size of your pupils, which makes it easier for your more-rigid lens to focus. These drops will typically work for 6 hours, so it’s a viable option for seeing through the day.
- Bifocal lenses – bifocal lenses are glasses (or contacts, thanks to advancements in technology) that have two different focal ranges in the lens. The top portion of the lens is for correcting your normal vision and the bottom portion corrects your presbyopia, allowing you to focus on objects close up when you look through the bottom portion of your glasses.
- Refractive surgery – surgeries like LASIK and PRK can change the shape of your cornea, thus correcting the shape of the lens in your eye and improving your day-to-day vision to correct or minimize your presbyopia.
Do you suffer from presbyopia? A good book or a restaurant menu shouldn’t be an obstacle in your old age. Reach out to us today to explore options for correcting your close-up vision.