Presbyopia, as a natural part of aging, is a condition associated with aging in which the eye exhibits a progressively diminished ability to focus on near objects. In other words, Presbyopia is the gradual loss of the eyes' ability to focus on nearby objects.
You may become aware of Presbyopia when you start holding books and newspapers at arm's length to be able to read them. A basic eye exam can confirm Presbyopia. You can correct the condition with eyeglasses or contact lenses. You might also consider surgery.
Presbyopia develops gradually and the first symptoms most people notice are difficulty reading fine print, particularly in low light conditions, eyestrain when reading for long periods, blur at near or momentarily blurred vision when transitioning between viewing distances. The symptoms become much less noticeable in bright sunlight due to the action of the iris closing to a smaller diameter. The patients may first notice these following signs and symptoms after the age of 40:
- A tendency to hold reading material farther away to make the letters clearer
- Blurred vision at normal reading distance
- Eyestrain or headaches after reading or doing close work
When people develop Presbyopia, they find they need to hold books, magazines, newspapers, menus and other reading materials at arm's length in order to focus properly. When they perform near work, such as embroidery or handwriting, they may develop headaches, eye strain or feel fatigued
Presbyopia is caused by an age-related hardening of the lens of the eye, which occurs with aging. This differs from astigmatism, nearsightedness and farsightedness, which are related to the shape of the eyeball and are caused by genetic and environmental factors. The lens is somewhat flexible and can change shape with the help of a circular muscle that surrounds it. As the lens becomes less flexible, it can no longer change shape to focus on close-up images. As a result, these images appear out of focus.
Certain factors can make you more likely to develop Presbyopia, including:
- Age. Almost everyone experiences some degree of Presbyopia after age 40.
- Medical conditions. Being farsighted or having certain diseases, such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis or cardiovascular diseases.
- Drugs. Certain drugs are associated with premature presbyopic symptoms, including antidepressants, antihistamines and diuretics.
People are also at a higher risk for premature Presbyopia if they have anemia, cardiovascular disease, hyperopia, myasthenia gravis or vascular insufficiency.
Presbyopia may worsen nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. The complications of Presbyopia include Hypermetropia (abnormal condition in which vision for distant objects is better than for near objects) or refractive eye disorders.