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Presbyopia (Loss of reading vision)

What is Presbyopia?

Presbyopia is the loss of the eye’s ability to focus on nearby objects, as a result of the natural ageing process of the eye.

What Causes Presbyopia?

When we are young, our eye's lens is flexible and can change shape easily, allowing the eye to focus on objects both close and far away. As we enter our 40's, the lens thickens and the muscles around the eye weakens. As a result, presbyopia develops and we lose our ability to see nearby objects clearly.


What are the Symptoms of Presbyopia?

For most people, the most common symptoms of presbyopia occur around the age 40. This typically involves a gradual deterioration in the ability to read or complete work up close.

Other symptoms of presbyopia include:

  • The need to hold reading material at arm's length
  • Blurred vision at a normal reading distance
  • Headaches or fatigue from doing close up work for a long period of time
  • Difficulty reading small print
  • Squinting / eyestrain

If these symptoms begin to interfere with your daily routine or are present to the point of causing pain, we recommend you to book an appointment with a LASERSIGHT Consultant Optometrist.

How will a LASERSIGHT Doctor Diagnose Presbyopia?

Your LASERSIGHT doctor can diagnose presbyopia by performing a thorough dilated eye exam.

Quick Tip: A general eye check-up is recommended once every two years for people over 45 years of age.

What are the Risk Factors of Presbyopia?

The most significant risk factor of presbyopia is age. Anyone over the age of 35 is at risk of developing presbyopia. It affects everyone, but some people notice it more than others.

When the symptoms of presbyopia occur earlier than usual, it’s called premature presbyopia and it may be a sign of an underlying medical condition.

Certain factors can make you more likely to develop premature presbyopia, including:

  • Hyperopia, or long-sightedness, which means you have a greater difficulty seeing objects nearby than objects that are far away
  • Other medical conditions such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis or cardiovascular disease

How do I Prevent the Onset of Presbyopia?

Unfortunately, we all get older at some point and there is no escaping presbyopia, even if you’ve never had a vision problem before.

However, you can help protect your vision with these simple steps:

  • Get regular eye examinations
  • Wear sunglasses
  • Eat a healthy diet with foods containing antioxidants, vitamin A, and beta carotene
  • Make sure you’re using the right strength of eyeglasses
  • Use good lighting when reading

What are the Long Term Implications of Presbyopia?

If presbyopia is undiagnosed and untreated, your vision will most likely deteriorate over time. Untreated presbyopia will significantly affect your lifestyle and your productivity levels at work. When tasks as simple as reading small print become too difficult and squinting is no longer helping, you’re at an increased risk of severe headaches and eyestrain.

What are the Treatment Options for Presbyopia?

There are several different types of eye treatments that can help improve or correct presbyopia. Depending on your personal characteristics, the best eye treatment option may vary patient to patient.

  • PRK
    PRK involves gently removing the layer of cells covering the cornea, also known as the epithelium, and using an excimer laser to sculpt the cornea to correct presbyopia.
    LASIK involves using a laser to remove inner layers of your cornea to steepen its domed shape. LASIK surgery can also be used to treat monovision.
  • Cataract Surgery
    Cataract Surgery involves removing your clouded lens from your eye and replacing it with a clear, acrylic intraocular lens.
  • Implantable Collamer Lens (ICL)
    An ICL is a thin, clear lens that is permanently placed inside your eye behind the iris, and in front of your natural crystalline lens.

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If you need further information our friendly operators are available to discuss your personal needs. Live chat is also available or take our free vision assessment.