Presbyopia: Age-Related Farsightedness
If you feel like reading smaller texts is becoming a slight annoyance and requires more effort than usual, then it's probably time to help your eyes out. Presbyopia - which most people age 40-50 experience - is a natural condition defined by the loss of elasticity within the eye. As we age, this gradual loss of elasticity eventually catches up to us, making it more difficult to focus on close-up objects without assistance.
The presbyopia checklist
· Holding reading material and fine print at a greater distance
· In need of more light to read
· Eye fatigue and strain from concentrating on focusing text
· Blurred vision when reading for long periods at a regular distance
· A burning sensation in your eyes
· In some cases, headaches
What happens when our eyes age?
Since our lenses become stiffer as we age, they are unable to change shape easily. As a result, it becomes more difficult to bend light accordingly and focus it on our retina. Luckily, our ability to see faraway objects is still intact so presbyopia can also be described as age-related farsightedness. Most of us will start to experience issues with our vision from age 40. Did you know that during the first 40 years of your life, you lose as much of your focal point as you do for the next 10 years! So if you feel like your eyesight is going totally downhill, do not despair, it's a natural part of life that we're all going to experience, which can very easily be overcome with a pair of reading glasses. Once you buy your first pair you’ll be overwhelmed with relief and clarity that will have you wondering why you didn’t just wear them sooner?
What is the solution?
Unfortunately, there is no way to stop the normal ageing process that causes presbyopia. However, here's a couple of ways it can be corrected.
Even though it doesn’t work for everyone, one solution is multifocal contact lenses. These lenses are made specifically for presbyopia and include both your required strength for distance (if any) and the additional strength you need to see clearly up close. It is also possible to have near-sight assistance on one of your eyes and use the other eye for distance. However, this does not work for everyone and makes mid-distance vision more blurry. Even though contact lenses may seem like a good option, they are not always the best for your health if they are not stored properly nor do they give the clearest focus. You have to compromise between seeing clearly at near and far distances. This option is also the most expensive one in the long run. If you already use contact lenses, you might be familiar with the cost, effort and appointments that come with contacts.
If you already have a prescription and don’t want to switch back and forth between your glasses throughout the day – progressive glasses are the way to go. They are especially good for those who already have been using glasses, and for those who have astigmatism. A progressive lens has the desired long-distance strengths at the top of the lens, and the near-distance strengths at the bottom of the lens. This of course means that you won’t be able to utilise your entire sight-ratio at once – but have to compromise. Some people find it disturbing to have the blurry field at the bottom of their glasses in their everyday life – and choose to buy pure reading glasses instead. Because progressive lenses are custom-made with modern technology, they can be quite pricey.
Reading glasses are for many the easiest, cheapest, and most effective solution to presbyopia. If you normally don’t wear contact lenses or glasses, the easiest way to correct the presbyopia is by wearing a pair of one-strength glasses when doing things up close. People usually buy reading glasses in supermarkets or the more expensive, custom-made ones from an optical store. A lot of people are starting to buy their glasses online because they are able to customise and pick their glasses from a bigger selection than the stand at the petrol station. Reading glasses come in strengths such as +1, +1.5 or even +3.5. For most people – presbyopia starts at +0.5 and increases until +2.0 to +2.5, given you don’t have a prescription from before.
The surgical approach should be carefully considered, as it comes with risk and uncertain results. It is done by either reconstructing the shape of the eyeball-surface or by adding a lens to the eyes. However, the surgery is usually not recommended until your sight has stabilised, which may take up to 5-10 years. The expense, risk, and uncertain results are checkpoints to consider.