Presbyopia: Everything You Need To Know

man in his 40s with presbyopia reading a restaurant menu

Age may bring wisdom but it also brings presbyopia (Greek for “aging eye”). If you’re in your 40s or older, you’re probably familiar with the symptoms. Over time, it gets harder to focus on objects close up. Suddenly, you have trouble reading a menu in the low light of a restaurant, need to hold a book at arm’s length in order to read the type, or have trouble doing hobby work without the aid of magnifying reading glasses. You may also find you’re suffering from headaches and eyestrain trying to cope with these changes in your vision.

You may joke with your friends about needing longer arms but inside you’re more likely feeling like you don’t want to wear reading glasses in public and what can you do to fix it!

Unlike being nearsighted or farsighted, presbyopia requires a look at different vision correction options then say, having a “LASIK” procedure.

What happens to our eyes when we age? What exactly is presbyopia? And what options are available to correct it? Here is some information that helps explain this common age-related eye condition:

Presbyopia & The Aging Eye

Presbyopia is part of the natural aging process. Our eyes change with age and this is why presbyopia occurs (and also cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and other conditions). When we’re younger, the lens inside our eye is soft and flexible and can easily switch focus from near to distant objects. When we get older, the lens becomes less elastic and can no longer change shape to bring things into focus clearly.

Presbyopia affects everyone, whether they are already nearsighted (myopic) or farsighted (hyperopic) – which are due to the shape of the cornea, not the lens – or have perfect vision.


Your eye care professional will give you a series of tests to evaluate the inside of your eyes and your distance and near vision. Once you’ve been diagnosed with presbyopia, you’ll have several treatment options.

Nonsurgical Treatment Options

Surgical Treatment Options

Once you hit 40, it’s advisable to get regular eye exams to check for age-related vision problems, including presbyopia.

As you can see, today’s world full of modern medical technologies, so reading glasses are not the only option for dealing with aging eyes. To find out which one is right for you, make an appointment with your local eye care professional.

Published July 21, 2016
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