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How Age Affects Your Vision – Presbyopia

Presbyopia is a visual impairment that comes with age in which close range vision becomes significantly impaired. With the growing international population of older adults, more and more individuals are developing presbyopia, which currently cannot be avoided.

Theories about the cause of presbyopia are that the eye will sometimes thicken by the age of forty, making it harder for eyes to focus in on something, especially an object nearby. Those with presbyopia often deal with the situation by holding the paper away from their eyes or standing away from the object they are looking at. Transitions from focusing on distant things to closer ones can often be tiring for those with presbyopia. This stress can add to one's discomfort by causing eye strain, fatigues or headaches.

Most often bifocals or progressive addition lenses (PALs) are used to resolve presbyopia. Bifocal lenses have two prescriptions for vision, one is for seeing things from far away and a second, lower portion for seeing things that are close by. Progressive addition lenses work similarly to bifocals, however the transitions between the two prescriptions are more gradual. Users can more easily change focus, as they could with normal eyesight. A third option is reading glasses which, unlike bifocals or PALs which are worn continually, are used only when needed.

Presbyopes can also opt for multifocal contacts or monovision lens correction (when one eye is prescribed a correction for distance vision and the other near vision) to deal with the condition. It may take a couple of attempts to determine the best method and type of contact lenses due to the fact that different prescriptions can cause discomfort or blurriness.

There are also options for other procedures including surgery available that should be discussed with your eye doctor. Many patients find the most success by combining treatments for presbyopia. Furthermore, since your vision will continue to get worse as you get older, you will probably need to continually adjust your prescription. The positive news is, there is a significant amount of experimental treatment on the market currently to identify more effective treatments for presbyopia.