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Presbyopia

Presbyopia is the gradual reduction in your eye’s ability to focus on near objects. Presbyopia occurs after 40 and steadily worsens throughout the rest of your life. It is impossible to avoid; half of all adults over 30 suffer from presbyopia. It affects over 100 million people in the U.S. and 1 billion people around the world.

Presbyopia is very similar to hyperopia. Even if you wear prescription glasses to correct your near vision, you may notice additional blurriness even when wearing your glasses. Because of this, nearly everyone will eventually have to receive a prescription to counteract presbyopia. Treating this condition is responsible for a large section of profit in the eye care industry.

Symptoms are noticeable when doing work close to one’s eyes. One may feel fatigued, eyestrain, or get headaches. Words may appear blurry and may need to be held at an arms distance in order to be read.

Presbyopia is age-related and no one is born with it. Other refractive errors are due to the shape of one’s eye while presbyopia is universally grown into. The condition is caused from a protein buildup in the lens that makes it harder. The muscle fibers around the eyes also become less elastic. Both of these lead to the eye having a harder time focusing on close objects.

The most common fix to presbyopia is bifocal lenses. The bottom half of the lens if for up-close activities, and the top half is for distance vision. There is a visible line separating the two. Similar to bifocal lenses are progressive lenses. While more expensive, they provide a clean transition from distance to near vision in a single lens. While more expensive, many prefer progressive lenses, as they are considered more fashionable.

Multifocal contact lenses provide a similar service. There are three kinds: translating, concentric, and aspheric. Each are held in place, and moving your eye will allow you to experience the different powers throughout the lens. Translating lenses have the same design as bifocals do; looking up is for distance, and looking down is for reading. Concentric has either a distance or near correction in the center and circles of alternating power surrounding it. Aspheric lenses are similar to progressive lenses; one correction is located in the middle and there is a progression to other type towards the outside of the eye. Discuss with your doctor which contact may be right for you.

The final contact lens option is monovision. One eye will be fitted with a lens for distance while the other will be fitted with a lens for near. The brain will favor one eye over the other depending on what you are trying to focus on.

Reading glasses are also an option. While bifocals and progressives are worn all day, reading glasses are only used only doing close-up work. Reading glasses can be prescribed and worn over contact lenses. Over the counter readers work as well.

There are many surgical treatments that can improve presbyopia. LASIK can be used to create artificial monovision. Other procedures change the shape of the cornea to better focus light. Some newer procedures use chemicals to make the lens more elastic. Again, you should talk with your doctor to see if surgery is the right choice for you.