The ability to focus on near objects decreases with time.

Headaches and blurry vision are common. Usually starts after the age of 40. It can be corrected with glasses.

Causes

The lens needs to change its length or shape to focus on objects that are close. The ability of the lens to change shape is called the elasticity of the lens. This elasticity decreases slowly as people age. The result is a slow loss in the ability of the eye to focus on nearby objects.

People most often begin to notice the condition at around age 45, when they realize that they need to hold reading materials farther away in order to focus on them. Presbyopia is a natural part of the aging process and it affects everyone.

Symptoms

  • Decreased focusing ability for near objects
  • Eyestrain
  • Headache

Treatment

There is no cure for presbyopia, but it can be corrected with glasses or contact lenses. In some cases, adding bifocals to an existing lens prescription is enough. The bifocal prescription will need to be strengthened as you lose the ability to focus up close.

Most peoples’ eyes have lost the elasticity needed to focus up close by age 65. However, you may still be able to read with the help of the right prescription. You may find that you need to hold reading materials farther away, and you may need larger print and more light for reading.

People who do not need glasses for distance vision may only need half glasses or reading glasses.

People who are nearsighted may be able to take off their distance glasses to read.

With the use of contact lenses, some people choose to correct one eye for near and one eye for far vision. This is called “monovision.” The technique eliminates the need for bifocals or reading glasses, but it can affect depth perception.

Sometimes monovision can be produced through laser vision correction. There are also bifocal contact lenses that can correct for both near and far vision in both eyes.

New surgical procedures are being evaluated that can also provide solutions for people who do not want to wear glasses or contacts. One promising procedure involves implanting a lens or a pinhole membrane in the cornea. Procedures very often can be reversed, if necessary.

Possible Complications

Vision difficulty that gets worse over time and is not corrected can cause problems with driving, lifestyle, or work.

Prevention

There is no proven prevention for presbyopia.