The effect of ageing on your eyes can be rather disheartening. After a certain age, mainly after your 40s, your eyes start losing the ability to see nearby objects clearly. This is called presbyopia.
Presbyopia is a natural part of ageing, and there is no escaping it even if you have never had any visual problems. However, it still needs to be treated as it may worsen by your 60s if left untreated.
You may notice the early symptoms of presbyopia when you hold a book at arm’s length to read it. Even if you wear corrective glasses for near-sightedness, you may still have blurry vision. Presbyopia is not necessarily serious, but it is definitely overwhelming and emotional to deal with as it is one of the early signs of ageing.
This condition is easily diagnosed by an eye exam and can be treated using glasses or contacts. Only in parts of the world where there is a lack of technology and treatment options are limited, presbyopia turns out to be severe and cause permanent visual impairment.
What Causes Presbyopia?
The lens of your eye sits behind your iris and changes shape in order to focus the light on your retina. This is what enables you to see clearly. At a young age, this lens is flexible, so it’s easier to change shape. But, as you age, the lens becomes rigid, making it harder to change shape. It is this rigidity that affects your near vision.
So, why does it occur in the first place? Ageing causes natural changes in the proteins within the lens along with reduced elasticity of the eye muscles. These age-related changes make it harder for the eyes to focus on objects.
Symptoms of Presbyopia
One of the most common presbyopia symptoms is when you have to hold your reading material at arm’s length to see the alphabet clearly.
Along with this, you may also experience regular headaches or a sense of straining in your eyes, especially when you’re reading.
If you start experiencing any of these symptoms, visit an ophthalmologist to get an early diagnosis. This is because a delay in presbyopia correction may cause severe visual impairments in future.
Treatment of Presbyopia
The fact that this natural condition can lead to severe vision impairments makes presbyopia treatment essential. Presbyopia can be treated in three ways — corrective eyeglasses, contact lenses, and surgery.
Let’s go through all three of them one by one to understand how they help in presbyopia correction.
1. Corrective Eyeglasses
Eyeglasses with progressive lenses are prescribed by the ophthalmologist to treat presbyopia. These glasses help your eye lenses focus, making your near vision clearer.
Another type of glasses prescribed for presbyopia correction are bifocal glasses. These are prescribed when you have difficulty in seeing both nearby and faraway objects or images.
Apart from progressive lenses and bifocals, another type of glasses prescribed are reading glasses. These glasses are only worn while reading or working on your computer.
2. Contact Lenses
Similar to multifocal glasses, there are multifocal contact lenses that are commonly prescribed for presbyopia treatment.
People can also opt for monovision contact lenses. In such cases, you would wear a contact lens for near-sightedness in one eye and one for far-sightedness in the other. Don’t worry – your vision would be normal and not wonky despite wearing two different lenses!
Having said that, it does take some getting used to it, as the brain learns over time to focus on different eyes for different tasks.
3. Presbyopia Surgery
Presbyopia surgery is an option for people who are not comfortable wearing corrective glasses or contact lenses. There are a few surgical procedures available for treating presbyopia.
One such procedure is called corneal inlay surgery. In this procedure, corneal inlays (which are small devices implanted in your cornea) are placed to improve the eye’s depth and focus.
Refractive surgery can also help. It is done to achieve monovision without glasses or contact lenses. Through this procedure, the cornea of one eye is reshaped to achieve clear far vision while the other is reshaped to achieve clear near vision.
Why Choose Centre for Sight?
Centre for Sight is one of the largest chains of eye care hospitals in the country with highly professional and experienced healthcare professionals. The doctors and surgeons at Centre for Sight will guide you right from the first consultation to the final steps, making the whole process comfortable for you.
Article: Presbyopia: A Natural Side-Effect of Ageing
Author: CFS Editorial Team | July 01 2021 | UPDATED 03:00 IST
*The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Centre for Sight.