Middle aged man holding a book having a hard time reading a book

Presbyopia: How Vision Changes With Age And What to Do About It

April 22, 2020

There are a lot of conditions that are common among old patients and one of them happens to be presbyopia. Eye problems are one that is very common in our day and time. Many people now use eyeglasses and contact lenses that help correct whatever problem they have with their vision. The one peculiar to old age happens to be presbyopia. This is a condition wherein the ability to focus the eye on near objects is lost. That’s why they would have problems with reading things on their phones, newspaper and many more. As long as the print happens to be small and it really close people would presbyopia would have that blurry vision.

Presbyopia is known to be common among patients from the age of 40 upwards. That’s the age at which the aging process starts to set in. The truth is that almost everyone on planet earth has presbyopia as they start to grow old. So the chances of you escaping it can be really slim. The thing is that as a person starts to age the eye lens would start to stiffen. And when this happens it becomes very difficult for you to focus on things that are up close. According to statistics, there are about 2 billion people all over the world that have this eye condition. So with this number, it would be wrong to say that having presbyopia as you start to age is unavoidable.

 

How Vision Changes with Age

Here’s one thing that you may not know about your vision. The lens in your eye actually changes as you age. When you are young it’s all elastic and flexible. But when you start to get old it becomes thick and inflexible. Because of this, there are changes as to the vision of the person. This whole process is actually with the protein in the lens. The protein starts to get harder over time. And after a while, it is no longer elastic.

Also, there are changes around the muscle fibers around the lens. When all these happens the end result is the inability of the eye to focus on objects that are closer. And that’s what’s called presbyopia.

There are certain symptoms that come with this condition. Let’s take a look at some of the symptoms.

  • Words begin to look blurry even at reading distances that were very comfortable for you before
  • For the words to become clear you would have to take it a bit farther from you
  • In other to see clearly you need brighter light
  • It’s not easy reading at right or when you are stressed or tired
  • After a while of doing close work, your eyes get uncomfortable, or instead, you start to feel drowsy or tired
  • Sometimes you have headaches due to the muscle tension in your eyes

 

Normally, when a person starts to experience these symptoms he would visit the hospital. For some, the changes are quite insignificant at the early stages and because of that, they don’t seek consult. It would take some number of years for such people to feel the need of going for a checkup. Whichever the case might be, the most important thing is opting for a checkup. Make sure you go for a checkup as soon as you can.

The reason for this is because the more you strain the eyes the more damage is being done to the eye. And this, in the long run, can cause damage that can’t be corrected. In fact, it can lead to a complete loss of function of the eye. This mostly happens to people that don’t have access to proper medical care.

 

What to Do About It?

As mentioned earlier, you can go see an optometrist about it. There are different treatment options that you can opt for. They are eyeglasses, contact lens, and surgery. The most common happens to be eyeglasses.

Depending on the severity of your condition the doctor would give you an eyeglass that matches that severity. Usually, line-free multifocal lenses are used for people. But also bifocal lenses can be used. Another good choice of lens is also photochromic lenses. This is particularly for people that have become very sensitive to light.

The thing though is that these lenses listed above should be worn all the time. But there is also the reading glasses. This one can be worn only when it is needed such as when you need to read something. Reading glasses are a lot easier to get.

Another option that people opt for is contact lenses. This also comes in different forms. It could be multifocal that allows for focus at different distances. Also, it could be monovision. For this one, one eye is for long-distance objects while the other is for near vision. After a while of using it, the brain would learn to adjust how the different eyes would work for different purposes.

The last option on the list happens to be surgery. You can opt for surgery if you are not comfortable with either glasses or contact lens. The common surgical procedure done is a corneal inlay. What this does is that it increases a person’s depth of focus. With this, there is a reduced need for reading glasses. And this as well would not tamper with the quality of vision.

Just make sure that before opting for surgery you ask a lot of questions. Look for a reputable doctor that would be able to handle the surgery. And when that is fixed make sure that you ask about the possible risks involved. With that, you would have an idea of the possible things that could happen while you’re doing the surgery.

One that you must also bear in mind is that presbyopia is unavoidable. It’s something that comes with aging. At the same time, it can’t be prevented. So don’t try to find means of preventing it because it would still end up happening. This is one of the things that we would have to face as we get older.