What is Presbyopia?

Have you started needing to hold things far away to see better? Do you use reading glasses when trying to complete simple tasks? These are all signs of a common age-related eye condition called presbyopia.

Presbyopia is an inevitable part of the aging process, but you may wonder what it is, what it means for your vision, and if you can treat it. Keep reading to learn more about presbyopia!

What is Presbyopia?

Presbyopia is a natural part of aging that develops when your eyes become less flexible. The loss of flexibility is due to the eye’s natural lens becoming more rigid, making it more challenging to change shape.

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When you need to look at things right in front of you, like when you’re reading a book, trying to thread a needle, or shave your face, this is when having presbyopia can be most frustrating to deal with. You may notice that focusing on things close up becomes harder in your forties or fifties. This is when most people begin experiencing the first signs of having presbyopia.

Symptoms of Presbyopia

If you have presbyopia, you may experience the following signs and symptoms:

  • You need more light while reading or when trying to complete fine-focus tasks
  • Your vision gets blurry when you try to read things at a normal distance
  • You now need to hold reading materials at arm’s length to see them clearly
  • You get headaches when you try to do tasks that are up close
  • You’ve experienced eye strain when completing up-close activities

If these signs sound familiar, you may have presbyopia. But the symptoms of this eye condition are not exclusive to only presbyopia.

The best thing you can do is see your eye doctor at Bausch Eye Associates to determine the cause of your vision changes. Early treatment and diagnosis are never bad if it’s not presbyopia!

How to Treat Presbyopia

If living with the symptoms of presbyopia is starting to drive you insane, you may be wondering if there are ways to treat this age-related eye condition. The good news is that, yes, you can treat presbyopia!

In fact, there are several ways to treat presbyopia, depending on your lifestyle, visual goals, and preferences. Here are some of the ways that you can treat presbyopia!

Reading Glasses

The most common way to treat presbyopia is by using reading glasses only when necessary. Reading glasses are different than prescription glasses.

Although, if you have an uneven prescription, suffer from eye strain, or have astigmatism, you may want to consider a pair of prescription reading glasses. Reading glasses are typically available over-the-counter, with a lens power ranging from +1 to +4.

It’s a good idea to visit your eye doctor before selecting any reading glasses, even if you plan on purchasing them over-the-counter. Reading glasses with an incorrect lens power may lead to eye strain, nausea, or headaches.

Since different kinds of tasks may require a different lens power, you may need more than one pair of reading glasses. The lens power required to complete tasks will also likely increase as you get older.

Progressive (Multifocal) Lenses

As your eyes age, your options for prescription eyeglasses start to change. One option you may want to consider if you have presbyopia is progressive lenses.

Also called multifocal lenses, progressive lenses allow you to see several fields of vision without any clear distinction between them. Instead, the lens power progressively changes.

This changes from seeing far away to see things at a middle distance to your full reading power. Because there is no distinction between the fields of vision, progressive lenses are often called “no-line” bifocals.

Bifocals and Trifocals

Bifocals, unlike progressive lenses, have two distinct powers between fields of vision. The top of the lens corrects your distance vision within the zone, while the bottom of the lens makes it easier to read when you’re looking at something up-close.

Contact Lenses

If you prefer the idea of not wearing glasses, you can continue wearing contact lenses even if you have presbyopia. You have several different options.

Bifocal Contact Lenses

The first option is to wear bifocal contact lenses. Bifocal contact lenses come in wide varieties, including soft and gas permeable lenses.

Bifocal contacts (as the name suggests) work similarly to bifocal glasses. These contacts have two different powers for distance and up-close vision.

Multifocal Contact Lenses

Another option you can try is multifocal contact lenses. Multifocal contacts can hold and accommodate several prescriptions in one lens.

With this capability, you can see clearly at any distance, whether reading your favorite book or driving to the grocery store. You can also get multifocal contacts to correct it if you have astigmatism.

Multifocal contacts have three focal points: one is for reading when you need to see things up close, another for when you need to see things at intermediate distances, and the last is when you need to see things further away.

Monovision Contact Lenses

You can also choose to try something called monovision. With monovision, one eye wears a contact that corrects for seeing things up close, and the other will wear a contact to see things at a distance.

Although it sounds like it could be difficult, your eyes should have no trouble automatically focusing. You can also choose to have a distance contact lens in each eye and then use reading glasses when you need to see up close.

Monovision LASIK

Monovision LASIK is a specialized technique in LASIK that helps to reduce or eliminate the need to use reading glasses. With monovision LASIK, you’ll have one eye permanently corrected for distance vision and the other for seeing things up close. Your dominant eye is the one that’s corrected for distance vision. The other eye is intentionally left somewhat nearsighted to make it easier to see things up close.

Refractive Lens Exchange

There’s one more option, and if you’re tired of reading glasses, refractive lens exchange may be for you! Refractive lens exchange (RLE) is a procedure that treats and corrects presbyopia.

It also reduces your dependency on glasses and contact lenses. This is the perfect solution for many people who can finally see up close again without relying on reading glasses anymore.

RLE works by removing your natural lens and replacing it with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL). With RLE, you can choose a premium IOL, which, although you have to pay for them out of pocket, will allow you to see without visual aids.

Another advantage of refractive lens exchange is that you’ll never have to worry about cataracts in the future, meaning you can look forward to many years of clearer vision.

Learn more about presbyopia and how to treat it by scheduling an appointment at Bausch Eye Associates in Allentown, PA, now! There are more options than reading glasses, so why not take control of your vision?