Oct 20

Presbyopia and Age

Posted on October 20, 2020 — by Eric Del Piero

Digital illustration of how light enters the eyeAging has an impact on several different functions. Presbyopia is characterized by the gradual inability to focus on up close objects. In other words, it is age-related farsightedness. Presbyopia is a normal aspect of aging. In fact, most individuals develop the condition at some point. Fortunately, there are ways to manage it.

At Monterey County Eye Associates, serving Monterey, CA, Salinas, CA, and King City, CA, our doctors offer a wide range of general eye care services. Here, Drs. Eric J. Del Piero and Leland H. Rosenblum explore presbyopia and age and discuss how individuals can successfully manage this condition.

Do I Have Presbyopia?

The symptoms of presbyopia can begin as early as age 40, though they can continue to develop for patients well into their 60s. Individuals with presbyopia may notice symptoms such as:

  • Blurry vision when reading at a normal distance
  • A need to hold books, magazines, and other reading material further away to increase clarity
  • Headaches or eye strain after reading, writing, or performing similar tasks
  • Frequent squinting
  • Requiring brighter lighting when performing tasks

What Causes Presbyopia

We have determined that presbyopia is a common occurrence with aging. But what exactly causes the condition? Presbyopia develops when the eye lens becomes hardened. When we are younger, the lens is more flexible. This flexibility helps bend light when it enters the eye so that objects appear clear. However, as we age, the lens becomes more rigid. As a result, it can no longer change shape to properly focus.

There are other factors that can accelerate the development of presbyopia. For example, certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, or multiple sclerosis, can significantly increase your risk for the condition. There are also some medications that can exacerbate presbyopia, such as certain diuretics, antidepressants, and antihistamines.

Diagnosing Presbyopia

Presbyopia can be detected during a routine eye exam. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that all individuals undergo a baseline assessment around the age of 40 since a number of eye conditions can begin around this time. A comprehensive examination can help your doctor detect disorders before they worsen, even if you are asymptomatic.

Treating Presbyopia

Like many age-related conditions, there is no cure for presbyopia. However, it can be managed successfully with a number of different treatments.

Prescription Lenses

If you already wear prescription lenses, your prescription can be adjusted accordingly to compensate for your vision changes. Options include bifocals, trifocals, progressive lenses, reading glasses, or contact lenses. Your doctor can work with you to find a solution that fits your goals and lifestyle.

Non-Prescription Lenses

If you have not worn prescription lenses in the past, then you may be able to improve your vision with non-prescription reading glasses. These can be found at any pharmacy.

Surgical Intervention

Various surgical procedures can address presbyopia. Many individuals find success with LASIK, refractive lens exchange, or conductive keratoplasty.

LASIK

Your doctor can reshape the cornea during this laser-assisted procedure. Corrective eyewear may still be necessary, but patients can address their presbyopia and enjoy clearer vision and better quality of life.

Refractive Lens Exchange

During this procedure, the natural eye lens is removed and replaced with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL). This addresses refractive errors and helps patients achieve sharper, clearer vision.

Conductive Keratoplasty

Radiofrequency energy is used to alter the curvature of your cornea. Though a successful treatment, some patients may notice diminished results over time.

Contact Us to Learn More

Are you over the age of 40 and starting to notice vision changes? It could be presbyopia. To learn more about this condition or schedule an appointment, contact us online or call our office at (831) 375-2020.

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