Presbyopia

Image of an elderly woman wearing glasses and reading a book.

As we age, our eyes—like the rest of our bodies—begin to lose flexibility and strength. When this happens to the lens of the eye and its surrounding muscles, your lens will become stiff. This makes it harder to see close objects clearly because the eyes can't focus properly. It's a natural part of aging that typically begins around age 40. Presbyopia can be corrected easily with eyeglasses or contact lenses from an optometry clinic.

Is Presbyopia the Same as Farsightedness?

No. Farsightedness is caused by distortions in the shape of the eyeball. Presbyopia occurs when your lens becomes stiff.

What Are the Symptoms of Presbyopia?

  • A need to hold things at arm's length to read them
  • Blurry vision when reading things at a normal distance
  • Fatigue or headaches after doing work at a close distance

How Is Presbyopia Diagnosed?

Your eye care provider will conduct a thorough eye exam and check for presbyopia.

How Is Presbyopia Treated?

To help correct the symptoms, your eye care provider may advise you to use aids such as:

  • Prescription eyeglasses
  • Contact lenses
  • Reading glasses
  • Progressive lenses
  • Bifocals

Most commonly, bifocals or progressive lenses are recommended. The top portion of the eyeglass lenses correct vision at long distances, and the bottom portion helps you see clearly up close. Bifocals have a distinct edge between the two prescriptions, but progressive lenses have a graduated transition between the areas.

Over time, if your presbyopia continues to change your vision, then you may need to update your eyewear periodically to maintain clear vision.

If you prefer a more permanent treatment, ask your eye care provider if you're a good candidate for conductive keratoplasty. In this procedure, precise radio waves reshape your cornea to improve your vision of nearby items.

As a sign of natural and healthy aging, presbyopia can be annoying, but it's easy to address. Whether you prefer glasses, contact lenses or surgery, talk with your eye care provider to find out which options are best for you.