Presbyopia

Presbyopia is the gradual reduction in flexibility of the lens of the eye with age. A normal part of aging, presbyopia usually becomes noticeable between the ages of 40 and 50 as an inability to focus on near objects. People who first experience presbyopia often find they have to hold things further away to be able to see them clearly.

Commonly asked questions

What causes presbyopia?

Inside the eye there is a lens, about the size of a pea. To focus clearly on close objects, such as when you read, special muscles in the eye change the shape of the lens to provide clear focus.

With age the lens becomes less flexible and the muscles can no longer change the shape of the lens to provide clear focus on close objects. This is a completely normal change that occues in all people.

At what age does presbyopia occur?

There is no exact age when presbyopia begins. Generally, the changes to the lens that cause presbyopia occur from childhood but presbyopia is most commonly apparent to people from around 40 years of age. Some people may notice that presbyopia develops suddenly while others say the changes are gradual. Presbyopia cannot be prevented and everyone experiences its symptoms.

How can I tell if I have presbyopia and how will it affect me?

You may have presbyopia if you find yourself holding things at arms length to see them clearly, if near print becomes blurry or you find your eyes become tired very quickly when reading.

It’s important to have an eye examination with your optometrist who will be able to test how well you see up close by placing different lenses in front of your eyes, so he or she can then tell if you have presbyopia and prescribe the lenses that give you the clearest and most comfortable vision.

You are likely to need to wear glasses when you are reading books, using computers and performing other tasks that require you to focus up close. Often prescription glasses for reading are prescribed first. These give excellent vision for reading but are blurry if you look through them into the distance and you have to take them off to walk around.

If you need clear distance and near vision at the same time, talk to your optometrist about bifocals or multifocals, which are great options for vision correction. Contact lenses are also a great solution and also have bifocal and multifocal options.

Why do I need a new prescription every two years?

Once presbyopia begins, the lens continues to lose flexibility. Between the ages of 40 and 60, you may need to change your prescription every few years to maintain good vision for life.

Will reading glasses make my eyes weaker?

No. Once presbyopia begins, the lens continues to change and lose flexibility regardless of whether or not you wear glasses. Between the ages of 40 and 65, you may need to change your prescription every few years to maintain good focus for objects up close.