Presbyopia “The Curse of the 40’s”

Presbyopia, commonly known as the “Curse of the 40’s” is a normal condition that occurs as our eyes age which makes it difficult to see clearly when looking at near objects such as letters or numbers in books, magazines, or on the computer screen. When your eyes are young, there is a mechanism in place that allows you to see clearly when viewing near objects. This mechanism involves the natural lens in the eye, which is controlled by small muscles that change the shape of that lens (a process known as accommodation, or “focusing”). When we accommodate, or “focus”, the small muscles in the eye pull on the natural lens, providing magnification and allowing us to see clearly at near. This is our built in autofocusing just like a camera can do. Over time, however, the eye’s natural lens loses its flexibility and becomes stiff, making it more difficult for the small focusing muscles to change its shape. This leads to insufficient magnification and blurry vision with near tasks. Additionally, since the focusing muscles are working harder than normal, they will often get tired and cramped just like any other muscle which can lead to eye strain, fatigue, and headaches. The hardening of the lens is a process that occurs at all stages throughout life, but usually only results in visual problems around the age of 40.

Treatment for Presbyopia

Both glasses and contact lenses can be used to remedy the visual problems caused by presbyopia. Bifocal or progressive lenses can be used in glasses to provide excellent vision for those who are experiencing presbyopia. Another option for those who are experiencing presbyopia is the use of multifocal contact lenses. These are special contacts that can often eliminate the need for glasses completely, while simultaneously providing excellent vision at distance and near. It is also important to note, that correction of Presbyopia through glasses or contact lenses WILL NOT make this condition worse. This is a normal aging process and will occur regardless of any corrective options, the glasses or contacts simply alleviate the strain and blurry that occurs because of this change. Additionally, there are no eye exercises, eye drops, supplements, or medicines that can slow down or reverse this change – this is a normal change and is just the way the human eye ages. There are also surgical options that can be useful to correct for presbyopia. If you are interested in seeking a surgical solution for presbyopia, please speak with one of our doctors who will be happy to assess if you are a candidate for surgery and answer any questions you may have.