For millions of Americans, impaired vision is something they’ve had to deal with for most of their lives. Many others are fortunate enough to benefit from naturally clear eyesight. However, whether a person has struggled with vision impairment for a lifetime, or has never had to put on a pair of glasses, presbyopia will develop with age. Presbyopia is a loss of near vision that affects most people starting around the age of 40. This condition is what causes the majority of people who are middle-aged or older to require reading glasses any time they have to read a menu or look at an email.
Presbyopia, like aging, is unavoidable. The experienced eye doctors at Monterey County Eye Associates are happy to discuss presbyopia causes with our Monterey, CA patients, as well as discuss treatments that can manage the condition.
What Is Presbyopia?
Presbyopia is a unique form of vision impairment. Other forms of vision impairment, including nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism, are caused by imperfections in the shape of the cornea. Presbyopia, on the other hand, has nothing to do with the shape of the cornea. Instead, presbyopia is a condition that develops as a result of the aging process. Presbyopia affects the majority of individuals aged 40 and older. Although the condition likely begins developing earlier, it often first exhibits symptoms when a patient reaches the age of 40.
How the Aging Process Causes Presbyopia
Just like the rest of the body, the eyes go through changes as they age. Presbyopia is a condition that develops when the lens of the eyes becomes thick, hard, and inflexible. There really are no external causes of these changes. They are simply a natural result of the aging process.
As the eyes age, the proteins in the lens are altered. Gradually, these changes cause the lens to become thicker. Another effect of aging is a stiffening of the muscle fibers surrounding the lens. As these fibers become stiffer, the lens loses its elasticity. Combined, these changes in the lens and surrounding muscle fibers make it difficult to focus on near objects. The result is blurry, unfocused vision when reading or performing other close-up tasks.
We can’t prevent presbyopia, nor is there any treatment to reverse the condition. However, our eye doctors do offer treatments to improve near vision. Presbyopia is most commonly treated with prescription lenses. Depending on a patient’s personal preference, we can provide either glasses or contact lenses to improve your near vision.
There are also surgical treatment options that are appropriate in some cases. These procedures treat the eyes to create monovision. This allows one eye to focus on far vision and the other to focus on near vision. These procedures may not be right for all patients so, it is important to consult with our doctors to determine which treatment method is most appropriate for your unique situation.
Schedule a Consultation
At Monterey County Eye Associates, we offer services to meet all your eye care needs. If you are concerned about blurry, unfocused vision, schedule a consultation at your earliest convenience to learn more about our vision treatments.