If you find yourself holding your cellphone farther away to read a text message clearly or if you’re reading your favorite column in The Daily Sentinel at arm’s length, it could be presbyopia. But worsening vision isn’t something you have to accept or “learn to live with.” Proper treatment could save you years of suffering and uncertainty. Read on to find out more about this condition and how to treat it.
Simply put, presbyopia is similar to hyperopia (farsightedness) in that your eyes lose the ability to clearly see things upclose over time. Symptoms typically begin to appear around 40 years of age, and it’s just as likely to occur in people who have never had vision problems as it is in those who are nearsighted. Without treatment, presbyopia can cause headaches, eye strain, and visual fatigue, similar to symptoms of farsightedness. However, it can be more discouraging than farsightedness because presbyopia is a sign of aging, so those struggling with it often experience psychological symptoms, like depression or anxiety, as well.
HOW PRESBYOPIA DEVELOPS
Unfortunately, the natural process of aging is what causes presbyopia, so it’s not really something that can be avoided. Unlike farsightedness, presbyopia is caused by a gradual thickening and general loss of flexibility of the natural lens inside the eye. As we age, the proteins inside the eye lens harden and the muscle fibers surrounding that lens lose their elasticity. This makes it progressively harder to focus on things up-close as the lens can no longer change its shape.
SYMPTOMS OF PRESBYOPIA
Presbyopia often develops gradually and may begin with slight blurred vision when reading materials nearer to your face or performing daily activities. Symptoms may become worse when you’re tired or in a dimlylit area.
Common symptoms include:
- Difficulty reading small print
- Needing to hold reading material at arm’s length to see it clearly . Needing brighter lighting when reading or performing upclose work
- Squinting and difficulty seeing or focusing on objects that are nearer to your face
- Eyestrain, headaches, or fatigue after reading or performing detailed work
SO AM I STUCK WEARING GLASSES FOREVER IF I HAVE PRESBYOPIA?
The short answer is no, you don’t have to live with presbyopia.
Cataract surgery (or a clear lens exchange) using presbyopiacorrecting intraocular lens implants (IOLs) is often recommended for people who don’t want to rely on reading glasses for the rest of their lives to see clearly. This surgery is a onetime procedure that replaces your natural lens with a presby-opia- correcting IOL and it has the added benefit of ensuring you won’t develop cataracts later in life.
This type of surgery produces a high level of satisfaction with patients, with most reporting better vision and complete resolution to their vision problems. Patients also report being able to quickly return to visual activities without dependency on glasses.
If you think you may be suffering from presbyopia, ask your eye care specialist about the best options for addressing your individual situation, and to refer you to a trusted eye surgeon at ICON Eyecare Grand Junction, if you are interested in exploring presbyopia-correcting IOLs. Our surgeons offer the best lenses available on the market that match your specific lifestyle needs.