Presbyopia is the natural and inevitable occurring eye condition as we age. It is the gradual loss of near focusing ability. Usually, it becomes noticeable sometime after age 40, when one has trouble reading small prints and starts holding reading materials at arm’s length to be able to read them.
To form an image, the eye relies on the cornea and the lens to focus the light reflected from the object.
Unlike the cornea, the lens is flexible and with the help of a circular muscle that surrounds it, it can change shape.
So, when one is looking at something at a distance, the circular muscle relaxes. And when one is looking at something near, the muscle constricts to allow the lens to curve and focus the light.
Presbyopia is caused by the gradual thickening and loss of flexibility of the lens of your eye, which occurs with aging. When the lens becomes less flexible, it can no longer curve or change shape to focus light from near objects, resulting in blurry near vision.
Apart from age being the greatest risk factor for presbyopia for almost everyone, other medical conditions and drugs can also make one develop presbyopia.
Being farsighted or having certain diseases, such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis or cardiovascular diseases, can increase one’s risk of premature presbyopia, which is presbyopia in people younger than 40.
Also, certain drugs are associated with premature presbyopia symptoms, including antidepressants, antihistamines and diuretics.
Diagnosis and treatments
Presbyopia is diagnosed by a basic eye exam, which includes a refraction assessment and an eye health examination.
It can be treated with glasses, contact lenses and vision surgery. Eyeglasses are the most common and popular solution for people over age 40. Those with presbyopia also can opt for multifocal contact lenses.
Because the human eye changes as we grow older, one’s presbyopia glasses or contacts prescription will need to be increased over time as well. Regular check-ups allow an eye specialist or optometrist to prescribe a stronger correction as you need it.
Surgical correction is also available for presbyopia. — The Health