Presbyopia: Causes, symptoms and more!
What is presbyopia exactly?
In short, presbyopia is the gradual loss of your eyes’ ability to focus on nearby objects. It’s a natural part of ageing that usually occurs around your mid 40’s and worsens with time. It’s therefore also known as age-related farsightedness.
What causes presbyopia?
Presbyopia is related to the decrease in elasticity of the eyes lens.
When you’re young, the lens of the eye is flexible. This means it can quickly change shape depending on whether light rays entering the eye are coming from a distant or nearby object. This is called accommodation.
However, over time, due to the elasticity of the lens decreasing, it cannot adapt far enough to quickly be able to focus.
This has two results:
- Close-up vision becomes blurry.
- It becomes difficult to shift focus quickly between objects that are nearby and distant.
Those who experience presbyopic symptoms tend to hold reading materials further away from their eyes than normal and tend to squint to be able to read clearly.
Another factor that contributes to presbyopia:
The proteins present in your lenses can also decrease with age.
This makes the lens stiffen so much that it cannot flex with your eye muscles, making it harder to see nearby objects clearly.
What are the symptoms?
The first, and often most noticeable is difficulty reading fine print or books, unless held at arms length.
Those with presbyopia may also experience eye strain when reading for long periods, particularly in poor light.
Nearby objects will appear blurred or you’ll have temporary blurred vision when changing viewing distance (as previously mentioned.)
Headaches and fatigue are also symptoms that can occur due to presbyopia.
Presbyopia and your prescription
Presbyopia can co-occur with emmetropia (no refractive error so no prescription needed), with myopia (short-sightedness) or with hyperopia (long-sightedness).
If you’re short-sighted, becoming presbyopic may make you want to remove your glasses to read.
If you’re long sighted, presbyopia may make your condition worse by needing correction for both distance and near. This is when you’ll most likely consider varifocals as a solution!
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