What Is Presbyopia?
Presbyopia is an eye disease in which the ability to concentrate rapidly on near objects gradually deteriorates. It’s a condition that affects everyone as they age.
Light passes through your cornea as it reaches your eye. After that, it goes into your pupil. The colored ring in your eye that opens and closes your pupil to regulate the amount of light passing through it is known as your iris. The light passes into your lens after passing through your pupil. Your lens changes shape in its healthiest state, allowing it to bend light rays further and also focus them at the back of your eye, on the retina. When you get older, the lens becomes less flexible. Then it won’t be able to change shape as quickly. As a result, it can’t properly bend light to focus it on your retina.
What Causes Presbyopia?
The lens in your eye is relatively flexible and elastic when you’re young. With the aid of a ring of tiny muscles that surrounds it, it may shift its length or shape. Your eye’s muscles can easily reshape and adapt your lens to match both near and distant images. When you get older, the lens loses versatility and stiffens, and as a result, the lens loses its ability to change shape and constricts, making it difficult to focus on near objects. Your eye gradually loses its ability to concentrate light directly onto your retina as your lens hardens.
Risk Factors of Presbyopia
Age is the most significant risk factor for presbyopia. By the age of 40, most people have lost some of their ability to concentrate on near objects. Everyone is affected, but some people are more aware of it than others.
Presbyopia may be caused by certain diseases or medications in people under the age of 40. Premature presbyopia occurs when the signs of presbyopia appear earlier than normal. It may be a sign of an underlying medical condition if you experience the signs of presbyopia at a younger age than the usual onset. You’re more likely to develop premature presbyopia if you have:
- Anemia, which is described as a lack of normal blood cells.
- Diabetes (difficulty metabolizing blood sugar
- Vascular insufficiency (insufficient blood flow)
- Cardiovascular disease
- Hyperopia, also known as farsightedness, is a condition in which you have a harder time seeing objects that are close to you than objects that are far away.
- Multiple sclerosis (MS), a chronic disease that affects the spine and brain.
- Myasthenia gravis, a neuromuscular condition affecting the nerves and muscles.
- Injury or illness to the eyes
Also, some prescription and over-the-counter medications could make it difficult for your eyes to concentrate on close objects. Premature presbyopia is more likely if you take the following medications:
- anti-anxiety medications
Other factors that may increase the chances of developing premature presbyopia include:
- being a woman
- getting intraocular surgery (surgery on the inside of the eye).
- experiencing decompression sickness, often known as “the bends,” which is caused by rapid decompression which most often happens in scuba divers who surface too soon.
Symptoms of Presbyopia
Most people experience the first signs of presbyopia around the age of 40. The symptoms of presbyopia usually include a progressive loss of ability to read or do work up close. Let`s take a look at the common symptoms.
- difficulty concentrating on close items
- requiring brighter lighting while reading or performing a close work
- experiencing headaches or eye strain after reading or doing a close work
- having trouble reading small print
- being exhausted from doing works close to you
- requiring holding reading material at an arm’s length to concentrate properly on it
How to Treat Presbyopia
There is no treatment for presbyopia. There are, however, several treatments available to help you correct your vision. You may be able to correct your vision with corrective lenses, contact lenses, or surgery, depending on your condition and lifestyle.
You can treat presbyopia surgically in a variety of ways; here are the common ones.
Conductive Keratoplasty (CK)
This is a procedure that involves changing the curvature of your cornea with radiofrequency energy. Although it is successful, some people’s corrections can fade over time.
LASIK (Laser-Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis)
LASIK is used to achieve monovision. While one eye is corrected for close vision, the other is corrected for distant vision.
You would be able to use nonprescription reading glasses if you didn’t need eyeglasses before developing presbyopia. They’re great for reading or doing close work. When looking for a pair of nonprescription reading glasses, experiment with various magnification levels. Select the smallest magnification that allows you to see clearly.
If you can’t find adequate magnification from the nonprescription options, you’ll need prescription lenses for presbyopia. If you already have lenses to fix another eye condition, you’ll need a prescription.
Prescription lenses come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and they include the following:
Prescription Reading Glasses
This is okay if you don’t want to buy off-the-shelf reading glasses and don’t have any other eye conditions other than presbyopia.
Bifocals have two distinct forms of focus, separated by a visible line. The upper half is for distance work, while the lower half is for reading or near work.
Trifocals have three distinct focal points. The portions can be rendered with or without visible lines, and they are designed for near work, mid-range, and distance vision.
Monovision Contact Lenses
This requires the use of a contact lens set for distant vision in one eye and a contact lens set for close work in the other.
Complications of Presbyopia
Your vision will deteriorate steadily if your presbyopia is undiagnosed or uncorrected. Over time, it will have a greater impact on your way of life. If you don’t get a correction, you might end up with severe visual impairment. At work and in daily tasks, you’ll have trouble managing your normal levels of operation and productivity.
Since everyone experiences presbyopia as they get older, it is possible to have presbyopia and another form of an eye problem at the same time. Presbyopia can occur in combination with the following conditions:
- astigmatism, which is a distorted vision caused by an imperfection in the curvature of your cornea.
- farsightedness, or hyperopia
- myopia, also known as nearsightedness
How to Prevent Presbyopia
Although there are no proven methods in preventing presbyopia, there are certain measures you can take in protecting your vision.
- Get your eyes examined regularly.
- While engaging in activities that could result in eye damage, ensure you wear clear eyeglasses.
- Manage chronic health problems like diabetes or high blood pressure that can lead to vision loss.
- Eat a nutritious diet rich in antioxidants, vitamin A, and beta carotene.
- Protect your eyes with sunglasses.
- Double-check that you’re using the proper intensity of eyeglasses.
- Make use of proper lighting whenever you read.
Now that you Know…
The vision loss that occurs as a result of presbyopia can be corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses, or surgery. The elasticity required to focus your lens on close objects gradually declines until about the age of 65, where the majority of the elasticity is gone. Even at that stage, however, it is possible to correct the vision to see near objects. If you notice any changes in your vision or eye health, be sure to speak with your doctor or an eye specialist. Early detection and treatment can help combat a variety of eye diseases and conditions.