Have you wondered why you can’t see things up close as well as you used to? If you’re in your forties or older, you may have presbyopia. This incredibly common condition affects how we see and is part of the aging process.

Presbyopia refers to the changes of the lens that occur with age. After approximately 40 years of age, the lens does not change shape as easily to accommodate near objects. This makes reading and other tasks performed at close range more difficult. Presbyopia can occur in combination with any of the other three refractive errors.

What is presbyopia?

Like wrinkles or sagging skin, presbyopia is one more part of the aging process. Except instead of affecting the outside, it’s an inside issue.

More than that, presbyopia only affects the eyes. As we get older, the lenses in our eyes lose their flexibility.

When you were younger, it’s likely that you never even thought about seeing things up close or at a distance. But with age, these tasks become much more difficult.

If you find it more difficult to see objects right in front of you, it’s a sign of presbyopia. When we lose flexibility in the eye’s lens, it makes it challenging to see what’s right in front of you.

Are there symptoms of presbyopia?

The most common symptom of presbyopia is being unable to see things right in front of you. In other words, do you:

  • hold things you’re reading further away from you to try and see the letters more clearly?
  • experience blurry vision whenever you try and read at a normal distance?
  • get headaches or eye strain after reading a book or performing close up work like sewing?
  • notice that seeing at a distance becomes even more difficult in low light or dim areas?

These are all indicators that you may have presbyopia. There is no pain associated with presbyopia but the symptoms can become frustrating.

Who is most likely to have presbyopia?

Since presbyopia is a natural part of aging, it occurs when patients are in their forties or fifties.

It could occur when you’re older, but it is not something that younger people are affected by. If you think you may have presbyopia, talk to your eye doctor.

They can recommend ways to make seeing up close easier on your eyes.

Can presbyopia be treated?

Although presbyopia is an eye condition, it is not dangerous. There are several different ways to treat presbyopia. The first is to wear reading glasses or bifocals.

These help make objects that are close up easier to see. Many people that use reading glasses find themselves in an “on/off” pattern.

You put your reading glasses on to see your cell phone better up close. You take your reading glasses off before eating dinner.

You put your reading glasses back on if you want to cross stitch in the evening or answer emails. The list goes on and on, but the on/off scenario is almost inevitable.

If reading glasses are taken off and put back on sounds infuriating, there are other options. Talk to your eye doctor about what may be right for you. Want to avoid cataracts altogether? Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) may be right for you.

During RLE, your natural lens is completely removed from the eye. Then, it is replaced with an artificial intraocular lens known as an IOL.

The IOL performs the same tasks that your natural lens did. Additionally, the IOL has more flexibility, allowing you to see up close once more.

Want to find out more about presbyopia? Schedule an appointment at The Medical Eye Center in Manchester, New Hampshire today!