Gulf Coast Eye Care

Improving Near Vision (Presbyopia)

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What is Presbyopia?

Presbyopia, also called dysfunctional lens syndrome, is a vision condition that occurs naturally with age and affects near vision. When you are young, your eye’s natural lens is soft and flexible. This flexibility is what allows you to easily focus at different distances. As you age, the natural lens of your eye begins to stiffen and lose flexibility, making it difficult to read at a close range or focus on objects that are very near to you. Because of the blurred vision that results when attempting close-up tasks, many people begin holding objects farther away or may turn to reading glasses in order to see clearly at near distances.

Who Gets Presbyopia?

Presbyopia affects everyone, with symptoms usually arising in the early-to-mid 40’s. 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 experience this change in vision between the ages of 40 and 60 as your lens continues to lose its flexibility. Fortunately, there are several different treatment options available, ranging from corrective eyewear to surgical options.

Presbyopia Symptoms

Presbyopia is a progressive vision condition, which means that symptoms may be subtle at first and gradually worsen over time. Initially, you may have trouble reading a menu or text message up close. Symptoms of presbyopia 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 Treatment Options

Reading glasses are a traditional treatment option for presbyopia, but many patients are bothered by the hassle of readers or bifocals, or they dislike the way they look. Fortunately, there are several advanced treatment options that can improve near vision and reduce or eliminate the need for reading glasses.

Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE)

Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) is a surgery to replace the presbyopic lens of the eye with an intraocular lens implant (IOL). Advanced IOL options include multifocal, accommodating, and extended depth of focus lenses that can correct presbyopia while also improving other refractive errors, such as nearsightedness (myopia) and astigmatism. RLE also eliminates the risk of developing cataracts. Learn more about RLE.

Corneal Inlays

A corneal inlay is a very small, ring-shaped implant that is surgically placed in the non-dominant eye to strengthen its ability to focus light at near to intermediate distances. In this way, patients can reduce or eliminate their reliance on reading glasses. The procedure can be reversible in the rare event that a patient wishes to remove their inlay. Learn more about Corneal Inlays.

Monovision/Blended Vision

In a Blended Vision LASIK, Blended Vision PRK, or Blended Vision RLE procedure, one eye is corrected for distance vision while the other eye is corrected for mid-range-to-near vision. Monovision, also referred to as blended vision, is a technique that can be a very effective way to correct presbyopia without sacrificing distance vision for many patients, but not everyone is able to visually adapt to monovision. Your eye doctor may have you trial monovision with contact lenses prior to surgery to see if you are a candidate for monovision eye surgery.

Frequently Asked Questions About Presbyopia

What is the difference between presbyopia and regular farsightedness (hyperopia)?

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. In contrast, farsightedness can be experienced by people of any age. 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.

Will I develop presbyopia even if I have had LASIK?

Yes, patients who had LASIK to correct myopia, hyperopia, or astigmatism can still develop presbyopia. Patients typically seek LASIK to correct refractive errors that result from irregularities in the shape of the eyes. However, presbyopia develops as a result of a defect in the lens itself, which is a separate issue. Patients who have had LASIK can still find themselves with age-related near vision loss in their 40’s to 50’s because LASIK does not stop the stiffening of the lens that occurs with age.

Can I prevent presbyopia?

No, people will experience a gradual change in the lens of their eye at different rates, but eventually everyone will develop presbyopia. While eye doctors do recommend eating a balanced and nutrient-rich diet to support eye health, there are no eye exercises or dietary changes that can prevent presbyopia.

How is presbyopia diagnosed?

Your eye doctor can diagnose presbyopia during a dilated eye exam.

How do I know which presbyopia treatment is right for me?

At Gulfcoast eye care, our experienced eye doctors will take the time to examine your eyes, discuss your vision needs, and talk to you about your lifestyle in order to help you determine the ideal treatment option for you. Contact us to schedule a consultation appointment.

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Wondering which vision correction procedure is right for you? Schedule a no-obligation consultation with one of our experienced vision correction specialists. We can answer any questions, evaluate your eyes, and discuss all available options to ensure you get optimal treatment for your vision needs and lifestyle.

If you cannot find a convenient time that works for you or you would like to speak with a patient services representative, please call us at 727-785-4419.

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