Presbyopia

Ageing eyes, A.K.A. presbyopia is the term given to age-related changes in the eye, which cause the near focus to deteriorate and start usually between 40 and 50 years of age.

What causes Presbyopia?

The lens within the eye becomes more difficult to focus as we age. In young people, it is very flexible and can be steepened into a different shape to allow easy change of focus from distant objects to close ones. This focus change is called accommodation. As we age, the lens in the eye produces new lens fibres and becomes thicker and stiffer and progressively more difficult to focus. By age 55-60 there is little natural focus remaining.

What are the symptoms of Presbyopia?

Weakening of accommodation is often first noticed as difficulty reading small print particularly in poor light. Some people also find it takes longer for their eyes to refocus from distance to reading and vice versa. As the focus for reading becomes more difficult, spectacles are needed to give extra focusing power ? this is known as a ? reading addition ? . A patient needing a reading addition is termed ? presbyopic ?. The power of the reading addition depends not only on the remaining focusing ability but also on the distance that the close work is done. For example, reading at 30cm needs a different power from working on a computer at 60cm in mid to late presbyopia where little natural focus remains, and special VDU/Computer spectacles may be needed. Your optician will take into account both the working distance and remaining accommodation when prescribing the reading addition to give clear and comfortable vision for the visual task.

How can Presbyopia be managed?

Most patients choose spectacles which can be made in 3 different types to help. * Single vision spectacles (reading only) * Bifocals * Varifocals The choice of type of lens is made considering your occupation, hobbies, convenience and prescription. Our dispensing optician will discuss the different types of lens with you, explaining the advantages and disadvantages of each type relating to your individual needs. Contact lenses and Presbyopia Some patients choose to try special contact lenses if they want to avoid spectacle wear - these need special fitting and can be tricky to adapt to in the early stages, but with the newer modern designs, occasional or regular wear is possible. Back up spectacles will always be needed because lenses cannot always be worn all day every day, especially during illness, or if a lens is lost.

Can I do anything to stop Presbyopia getting worse?

Unfortunately, because the change in vision is age related, it is inevitable that the reading vision will worsen whether you use spectacles or not, but using the correct power of lenses will make it easier to read without straining your eyes.