By Chanté Roets - (UOFS) CAS(SA)


Presbyopia is the normal loss of near focusing ability that occurs with age. It is sometimes also called the short arm syndrome. Most people begin to notice the effects of presbyopia sometime after age 40, when they start having trouble seeing small print clearly — including text messages on their phone. You can't escape presbyopia, even if you've never had a vision problem before.

What causes presbyopia?

Presbyopia is an age-related process. It is a gradual thickening and loss of flexibility of the natural lens inside your eye. These age-related changes occur within the proteins in the lens, making the lens harder and less elastic over time. Age-related changes also take place in the muscle fibers surrounding the lens. With less elasticity, it gets difficult for the eyes to focus on close objects.

Symptoms of presbyopia:

When you become presbyopic, you either have to hold your smartphone and other objects and reading material (books, magazines, menus, labels, etc.) farther from your eyes to see them more clearly. Unfortunately, when you move things farther from your eyes they get smaller in size, so this is only a temporary and partially successful solution to presbyopia. If you can still see close objects pretty well, presbyopia can cause headaches, eye strain and visual fatigue that make reading and other near vision tasks less comfortable and more exhausting.

Treatment options for presbyopia:

Multifocal spectacles are the most popular solution for presbyopia for most people over age 40. Bifocal spectacles are also an option for presbyopia, but bifocals provide a more limited range of vision. Reading glasses are another choice. Unlike bifocals and multifocal lenses, which most people wear all day, reading glasses are worn only when needed to see close objects and small print more clearly. If you wear contact lenses, we can prescribe reading glasses that you wear while your contact lenses are in or you can also try multifocal contact lenses or monovision. We do a full examination including refraction and determining your additional near power for reading and the best lens options will then be discussed with the patient according to their needs.

Presbyopia is a normal part of the aging process, and we’re all going to have to deal with it sometime after age 40. Whichever option you choose – spectacles or contact lenses– you’ll be able to easily read messages on your phone or a book to your grandson without any trouble!

If you are beginning to notice signs and symptoms of presbyopia, come to Spectacle Warehouse for an eye examination and consultation regarding the best presbyopia treatment options for you.