Presbyopia – what is this, why does it happen, and when might you be impacted?


What is this, why does it happen, and when might you be impacted?

As we age, our physical capability changes, and our eyes are no exception. A common vision related change that many individuals experience is called presbyopia.

You may have heard this term before but perhaps not really understood what it means and if it’s something that might affect you.

In this blog, we will explore what presbyopia means, its causes, symptoms, when you might expect to be impacted, and what your options are for clear vision.

Definition of Presbyopia

Presbyopia occurs as a natural part of the aging process and describes when the eye’s ability to focus on close objects is impacted. Essentially the lens in the eye becomes less able to flex and change shape, and as a result its ability to focus on near objects is compromised.

Presbyopia typically becomes noticeable around the age of 40 and is progressive, as the lens of the eye gradually loses its ability to focus on nearby objects due to a reduction in the flexibility of the eye’s lens.

Presbyopia is why many of us at around the age of 40+ start to need glasses for reading and computer work. Presbyopic eyes are still healthy, they just need a little help now that they are older!

Causes of Presbyopia

To understand presbyopia, it’s essential to know how the eye works.

The lens in the eye is responsible for changing its shape to focus on objects at different distances. This flexibility is made possible by the muscles surrounding the lens. As we age, and like many of the body’s muscles, these muscles tire, weaken and become less flexible. This makes it challenging for the eye to adjust and focus on close objects.

Additionally, changes in the composition and structure of the lens as it ages can also contribute to presbyopia. The lens becomes thicker, less elastic, and less transparent with age, further limiting its ability to flex and focus on close-up objects.

Symptoms of Presbyopia

Like getting older, the onset of presbyopia is gradual, and changes in visual ability may not immediately be noticed. However, as age advances and presbyopia progresses, there are common symptoms associated with this condition:

Difficulty reading: one of the first signs of presbyopia is difficulty reading small print or focusing on close-up tasks, like reading your phone or computer work.

Eye strain: Individuals with presbyopia often experience eye strain or fatigue, particularly after engaging in activities that require close-up vision for an extended period.

Headaches: Struggling to focus on nearby objects can lead to headaches, especially when engaged in tasks such as reading or using electronic devices.

Need for brighter light: People with presbyopia may find that they need more light to see clearly, especially when performing tasks that require close-up vision.

When you might be impacted

As mentioned, presbyopia is a natural part of aging and typically becomes noticeable around the age of 40. However, this can vary from person to person.

There are a number of factors that can influence when presbyopia becomes noticeable (and annoying for some), including genetics, overall eye health, and the visual demands of your lifestyle.

If you are having difficulty reading small print, suffering from blurred vision at close distances, or any of the symptoms mentioned above, it’s probably time to schedule an appointment with an optometrist as a first step.

At this appointment they will be able to assess your vision and determine whether presbyopia is the cause of your visual issues, and provide advice on the choices available to you to see more clearly.

What are your options?

While presbyopia is a normal part of aging, there are various treatment options available to help you manage and correct your vision. These include:

Reading glasses and contact lenses: these simple and effective options providing magnification for close-up tasks, compensating for the loss of flexibility in the eye’s lens.

Multifocal or bifocal glasses: for those who don’t want the hassle of switching between two separate pairs of glasses, one for distance and another for near, or for those who don’t want to have to take their reading glasses on and off all day long, multifocal of bifocal glasses are a common solution.

Laser vision correction: in some cases, individuals that are looking to correct their presbyopia may opt for, and be suitable, for solutions within laser vision correction. A successful laser vision correction treatment often used to correct presbyopia is called blended vision. Blended vision alters each eye for a different purpose, and can be used to improve both the quality of someone’s distance and near vision, making it an excellent solution for those wanting to become completely independent from glasses and contact lenses. Using blended vision, one eye is corrected to enable the patient to see clearly at close range, while the other eye is corrected for clear long distance vision. Since both eyes work together when viewing, in most cases the brain “blends” the images together for clear vision at both distance and near, and provides clear vision and independence from visual hardware. Blended vision can be achieved by using laser technology, such as SMILE, LASIK, PRK. If you would like to read our blog on blended vision click here.

Lens replacement surgery is commonly suited to those over 50 and is often considered as an excellent solution for presbyopia for those people who are not suitable for laser vision correction. It’s performed as a day procedure under aesthetic and involves replacing the eye’s natural lens with an artificial lens to correct the vision. Each eye is treated on different days which allows time for initial healing to take place and a review with your doctor.

In summary presbyopia is a natural and common age-related change in vision capability that affects near vision in many people as they get older. Understanding this, and seeking advice from a trained eye health professional to help you find the solution best suited to you is recommended.

Adelaide Eye & Laser Centre is an ophthalmic centre of excellence. As such it can provide its patients with visual solutions for conditions like presbyopia, depending on the unique goals and individual eye health of the patient.

To explore your options for a clearer, brighter future, please do not hesitate to call us on 08 8274 7000 to make an appointment or book online here.









Hey Sarah,


No worries – I have provided more detail on blended vision here and its ability to be used for correction near vision (as well as distance) as I think that’s the only option for presbyopia in the LVC treatments? Hopefully that’s what you were thinking. X

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