Presbyopia is a eye condition that results in a decreasing ability to focus on close-up objects. Presbyopia is much like hyperopia (farsightedness) as it is a refractive error.
A refractive error results in impairment to vision despite the eye being otherwise healthy. This is because a refractive error is not an illness; it is an irregularity in the physical curvature of the optical surfaces in the eye.
The difference, however, is that presbyopia is a naturally occurring age-related eye condition. Commonly referred to as “aging eye”, presbyopia is developed by nearly everyone and can be combined with other refractive errors.
Presbyopia differs from other refractive errors as it is caused by an age-related process. At a young age, the lens within the eye is soft and flexible. As such, the lens is able to easily change shape in order to focus on objects both distant, and close.
At around the age of 40, the lens begins to lose its ability to change shape easily. This is a result of age-related changes with proteins in the lens.
These changes cause the lens to become harder and less elastic. By becoming less elastic, the rigid lens has difficulty when focusing on close range objects.
The following are common signs and symptoms of presbyopia.
The symptoms of presbyopia are very similar to those of hyperopia. As such, it is important to schedule an eye examination with our Optometrists if any symptoms are experienced. During an eye exam, your Optometrist will be able to provide a diagnosis of presbyopia, or any other refractive error.
During a comprehensive eye examination, your Optometrist will check for refractive errors. In addition, they will be able to determine the degree of presbyopia, or any other vision errors, by using a standard vision assessment.
A phoropter is one of the instruments used to measure the amount of refractive error the patient may have. From there, a treatment can be prescribed.
The most appropriate method of correcting presbyopia depends on the patient’s lifestyle. Prescribed lenses are the most common method of treatment. Prescribed lenses can either be eyeglasses, or contact lenses.
Eyeglasses work by having two prescriptions within the lens, either as bifocal or progressive addition lenses. The lens has two points of focus: one part for distance vision, and another for close work.
Contact lenses work in a variety of ways to correct presbyopia. Instead of the lens having two points of focus, a different lens may used for each eye. This is known as monovision. The brain will learn to favour each eye depending on the task. Additionally, multifocal contact lenses are available to correct presbyopia and allow both eyes to work together more effeciently.
If you’d prefer not to wear prescribed lenses, refractive surgery is available. LASIK can be used to create monovision. In addition, the Kamra Inlay (AcuFocus) was approved by the FDA in 2015 as a treatment to presbyopia. It is currently the only approved inlay.
In order to determine which treatment option is the right fit for you, contact our Optometrists. They are available to address any questions or concerns you may have regarding your presbyopia, and treatments.