Posted on: 1 July 2015Share
If you've always had good vision, you may have gotten lax about getting your eyes examined regularly. It may come as a surprise then when you suddenly start having trouble with your near vision. Presbyopia is a condition that develops after the age of 40. It affects your ability to see close things clearly, and it is slowly progressive. Here is what you need to know about developing presbyopia.
What Causes Presbyopia
Presbyopia is considered a normal consequence of aging. It affects people differently and progresses at different rates, but it's caused by the gradual hardening of the lenses in your eyes. The lens of your eye is what allows you to focus on an image and bring it into view. The change of focus is achieved by muscles in your eyes that relax when you look at something far away and tighten when you look at something up close. When the lens in your eye starts getting hard, your muscles have a more difficult time adjusting it well enough to bring things into focus. The first indication you have a problem is when you notice you can read a menu or newspaper better if you hold it farther away from you.
How The Condition Is Treated
Early presbyopia can be treated with reading glasses you buy at a pharmacy or grocery store without a prescription. However, it's best to see your eye doctor for an examination to verify that presbyopia is the cause of your vision problems. You can develop this condition if you have perfect vision or if you already wear glasses. If you wear glasses for another vision problem, your eye doctor may need to prescribe bifocals that magnify your near vision when you look through the bottom of the glasses.
In addition to wearing glasses, presbyopia can be treated with contacts, laser surgery, and lens implants. You and your eye doctor will consider the severity of your vision problem along with your tolerance for wearing glasses or contacts when deciding on the best course of treatment. Since the condition is progressive, your doctor may recommend regular eye exams so your prescription glasses can be adjusted as needed.
While there isn't a lot you can do to prevent presbyopia, you can take steps to protect your eye health so you can keep other conditions at bay that would compound your vision problems. For instance, you should keep blood sugar under control to prevent the development of diabetic retinopathy. Regular eye exams are helpful too because they alert you to problems such as glaucoma and macular degeneration so you can start treatment before your eyes are irreversibly damaged. Although presbyopia may be frustrating, especially if you've always had perfect vision, it can be treated quite easily with the help of your eye doctor.