We can’t stop getting older, and that means our eyes age too. Presbyopia is age-related long sightedness – and it usually becomes obvious when you begin holding the paper or the phone further away to see clearer.
It’s usually something people notice at around age 40 and gets worse until around 65.
When we’re younger the lens of the eye is soft and flexible, which means it can easily change shape and focus on objects up-close and far away. But as we get older the lens loses elasticity and becomes harder and less flexible. It makes it harder for the eyes to focus on things close to us.
It happens to all of us with age, but medical conditions like diabetes, multiple sclerosis, or heart disease, may increase your chances of presbyopia at an earlier age (before 40).
Presbyopia can’t be reversed or cured, but there are plenty of options to help correct your vision. Your optometrist can talk you through these after a routine eye test.
If you don’t have any other vision problems, reading glasses might be all you need. However, if you have myopia (short-sightedness), hyperopia (long-sightedness) or astigmatism you might benefit from wearing bifocals, trifocals or progressive lenses.
For those who prefer contact lenses there are two main types used to correct presbyopia:
Monovision contacts: which correct one eye for distance vision and the other for up-close.
Multifocal contacts: with variations in power enabling you to see distance and close-up at the same time. Your brain discerns which image to focus on and which to ignore.
There are also various surgical options available including refractive surgery and corneal inlays.