What is presbyopia?
Presbyopia is a type of refractive error that causes close objects to gradually appear out of focus as the eye ages. It is caused by loss of the elasticity of the lens inside the eye due to natural aging. Presbyopia eventually affects almost everyone, beginning as early as age 35, and progressing over the next 20 to 30 years.
It is possible to have astigmatism, farsightedness or nearsightedness along with presbyopia.
Symptoms of Presbyopia
- Blurred or distorted vision at close range
- Need to hold close objects farther away to see them clearly
Diagnosis of Presbyopia
Presbyopia can be diagnosed during a general eye exam by a:
- Visual acuity test to measure vision at distances
- Refraction test to determine the correct prescription for glasses
- Slit-lamp exam to assess the structures of the eyes
Treatment Options for Presbyopia
- Contact lenses
- Topical pilocarpine eyedrops
- Corneal inlay surgery — a minimally invasive procedure during which an insert is placed into the cornea
- Lens-based surgery using a special intraocular lens implant
Risk Factors for Presbyopia
It is possible to develop premature presbyopia, which occurs earlier than the typical age. Risk factors include:
- Premature menopause
- Medications such as allergy medicine, attention-deficit medications, anti-anxiety drugs, antidepressants, antipsychotics, antispasmodics and diuretics
- Diseases such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and some types of cardiac or neurological conditions
- Prior eye or head trauma
- Early lens-based surgery, such as cataract surgery