Although not as well-known as eye problems like nearsightedness and astigmatism, presbyopia is a very common condition that is estimated to affect almost 1.4 million people worldwide. This age-related eye condition is best known for affecting your ability to read clearly and is a leading cause of people buying ‘reading glasses’ once they enter middle age.
Here’s what you need to know about presbyopia, including what you can do to help you manage this unavoidable condition.
The natural lens of the eye is an integral part of its structure. When we are young, the lens has some flexibility that lets it change shape so that we can see clearly both in the distance and up close. However, this flexibility diminishes with age, usually beginning around the age of 40. It’s not known exactly why this happens.
There are several signs that could indicate that you are suffering from presbyopia. You may:
Find it difficult to read things that are printed in small text, or words that are very close together
Need to hold things at arm’s length in order to see them clearly
Find that your vision is blurred at normal reading distance
Get headaches from doing lots of close-up work
Experience eye fatigue after long periods of visual concentration
Presbyopia is a progressive condition, meaning that you’ll almost certainly find that symptoms worsen until around your mid to late 60s, after which time your vision should stay the same.
If you have the symptoms of presbyopia, your eye doctor should be able to formalize a diagnosis using a fairly simple eye exam. In fact, many patients are diagnosed with presbyopia at their annual comprehensive eye exams, before they even experience any obvious symptoms.
Although there is no cure for presbyopia, there are things that you can do to help manage your condition so that you can continue to see clearly into your senior years. Some of the techniques that may be recommended to you could include:
Bifocal glasses are prescription lenses that have two different prescriptions incorporated into the lens of each eye. The top part of the lens contains a prescription that corrects for distance vision, as we tend to naturally look upwards when we are viewing things further away. Meanwhile, the bottom part of the lens contains a prescription for near vision, so you can look down to read and still see clearly.
These are virtually identical to bifocal glasses except that they have a less obvious separation of the different prescriptions and instead, the transition between them is blended.
Monovision LASIK is a suitable alternative to conventional LASIK laser vision correction for people with presbyopia. In monovision LASIK, one eye is altered using laser technology so that you can see clearly up close, while the other is altered for distance vision. It is a permanent solution that can take some getting used to at first, but most patients learn to adapt fairly swiftly and soon start enjoying the freedom of corrected presbyopia without the need to wear prescription glasses.
If you have questions about presbyopia, or if you would like to schedule an appointment to discuss the condition and how laser vision correction can help, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Manhattan LASIK Center in Roslyn, NY at (212) 759-9617 to schedule a FREE Virtual Consultation.