One of the most common vision conditions is presbyopia, which occurs when the eyes start to lose their ability to see objects clearly up close. While this is a normal part of aging, many people develop presbyopia earlier than others. However, the majority of people start to notice presbyopia symptoms shortly after they turn 40. If you all of a sudden are having a difficult time reading materials close to you and find that you can only make out the words clearly if you hold the items farther away from your eyes, you may have presbyopia.
Causes of Presbyopia
Presbyopia comes from the Greek word that means “old eye.” Even those who have never had a vision problem may be faced with presbyopia as they get older. Unfortunately, people who have myopia (nearsightedness) are not immune to developing presbyopia either. These individuals may notice their vision starts to blur even when wearing their usual eyeglasses or contact lenses.
In the United States, presbyopia is on the rise, with an estimated 123 million people expected to be presbyopic by 2020 (in contrast to the 112 million who had the condition in 2006).
As we’ve discussed, presbyopia is an age-related condition that develops over time. It is important to recognize that presbyopia is very different from myopia, astigmatism, and farsightedness, all of which are related to the shape of the eyeball and caused by a host of factors, including genes and your environment. It is believed that presbyopia occurs from a gradual thickening and loss of flexibility of the lens inside the eye. As we get older, the proteins in the lens harden and are less elastic, resulting in changes to our vision.
Signs of Presbyopia
The most obvious signs of presbyopia are when you have to hold a book, phone, tablet, or any other reading materials farther away from your eyes in order to make out what they are saying more clearly. When you move items away from your eyes, they get smaller in size, which can put a strain on the eyes. This is why simply holding reading materials farther away from your face in order to read them is not a long-term solution. This may provide a temporary fix, but you will need to schedule an appointment with your First Eye Care McKinney optometrist for a comprehensive eye exam.
The most popular treatment for presbyopia is eyeglasses with progressive lenses. This is because most people do not notice symptoms unless they are ready, so contacts that you wear all day long are not necessary. Progressive lenses are multifocal but do not have any lines, helping to restore vision up close. Another option is bifocal lenses, which are not as popular as they have been in the past. Others opt for simple reading glasses, which are worn only when needing to see objects up close.
To learn more about presbyopia or to schedule an appointment with an experienced optometrist at First Eye Care McKinney, please give us a call today.