When you are young, your eye’s natural lens is soft and flexible. This flexibility is what allows your lens to change shape when you attempt to “zoom in” with your vision to see objects up-close. As you age, the natural lens of your eye loses its flexibility, making it difficult to read at a close range or focus on objects that are very near to you. This condition is called presbyopia and affects everyone, with symptoms usually arising in the early-to-mid 40’s. Because of this blurred vision that results when attempting close-up tasks, many people begin holding objects farther away or may turn to reading glasses.
It is possible to have presbyopia in combination with nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. Unfortunately, no medication or exercise has been found to reverse presbyopia. It is likely that you will see some change to your prescription between the ages of 40 and 60 as your lens continues to lose its flexibility. Fortunately, there are several different treatment options available that range from corrective eyewear to surgical options.
What are the Symptoms of Presbyopia?
As a progressive vision condition, the symptoms of presbyopia may be subtle at first and gradually worsen over time. Initially, you may have trouble reading a menu or text message up close. As presbyopia progresses without treatment, bifocals or trifocals may become necessary. Symptoms of this condition may include:
- Blurred vision and difficulty seeing objects up close
- Eye strain or eye fatigue
- Trouble reading
- The need to hold objects at arm’s length in order to see them clearly
- Headaches as a result of reading or looking at a computer screen
Presbyopia Vs. Hyperopia (Farsightedness)
While the symptoms of presbyopia may sound similar to those associated with farsightedness, the mechanisms which cause blurry vision in the two conditions differ. Presbyopia is characterized by an age-related decline in the flexibility of the eye’s natural lens. Because this flexibility is essential to interpreting objects clearly at any given distance, the lens’ diminished capacity to adjust itself as individuals age often results in difficulty focusing on closer objects. This is why presbyopia commonly surfaces in patients between the ages of 40 and 50.
In contrast, farsightedness can be experienced by people of any age. It is often genetic and can even occur in infants and toddlers. Medically referred to as hyperopia, farsightedness is caused by an irregularly-shaped eye or cornea that improperly lines up light rays with the retina. As a result, trying to focus on objects up-close can lead to many of the same symptoms as presbyopia, such as eye strain, blurry vision, and headaches. Many people can mistake presbyopia as farsightedness, but a simple consultation can reveal which condition is causing your symptoms. While both conditions can be similarly debilitating, our eye doctors can effectively treat presbyopia and hyperopia to improve your eyesight at any distance and restore the integrity of your vision.
How is Presbyopia Treated?
Traditionally, presbyopia patients could only achieve clearer vision at near distances with the help of additional eyewear, such as glasses or contact lenses. Fortunately, corneal inlays now offer a cutting-edge cornea strengthening technique that can reduce an individual’s reliance on corrective lenses and improve vision at a close range.
Corneal inlays are advanced presbyopia treatments that can help men and women regain their ability to see objects up-close. An inlay is a very small device that is surgically placed in the cornea to strengthen its ability to focus light at near to intermediate distances. In this way, patients can reduce—or even eliminate— their reliance on corrective eyewear and enjoy the full scope of their vision as the aging process continues. The procedure can be reversible in the rare event that a patient wishes to remove their inlay. If you are interested in using an inlay to optimize your close-range vision, our doctors can determine whether the procedure is an ideal treatment for you during a consultation.
Learn more about Corneal Inlays.
Questions? Please contact Gulfcoast Eye Care to learn more about how our eye doctors can help treat your presbyopia with the latest treatment options available.