This comes to us all and some of you may already be aware of this!!

Hold a book up close and the words appear blurred. Push the book farther away, and the words snap back into sharp focus.

That’s how most of us first recognize a condition called presbyopia, a name derived from Greek words meaning “old eye.” Eye fatigue or headaches when doing close work, such as sewing, knitting or painting, are also common symptoms. Because it is associated with aging, presbyopia is often met with a groan — and the realization that reading glasses, bifocals or varifocals are inevitable

What causes presbyopia?

As we age, body tissues normally lose their elasticity. As skin ages, it becomes less elastic and we develop wrinkles. Similarly, as the lenses in our eyes lose some of their elasticity, they lose some of their ability to change focus for different distances.

How does the loss of elasticity affect sight?

The crystalline lens plays a key role in focusing light on the retina. When we are young, the lens is flexible. With the help of tiny ciliary muscles, it changes shape, or accommodates, for both near and distant objects by bending or flattening out to help focus light rays. As we age, the lens becomes stiffer. Changing shape becomes more difficult. Not only does focusing on near objects become more difficult, the eye is also unable to adjust as quickly to rapid changes in focus on near and distant objects.

The flexibility of the lens begins to decrease in youth. The age at which presbyopia is first noticed varies, but it usually begins to interfere with near vision in the early 40’s. Presbyopia affects everyone and there is no known prevention.

How is the problem diagnosed and treated?

A comprehensive eye health examination, including testing the quality of your near vision, are necessary to diagnose presbyopia.

If you don’t already wear glasses the optician generally prescribes reading spectacles to help the eye focus on close-up work. but if you already wear glasses, bifocal or progressive lenses are often prescribed.

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