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Aging and Your Vision – Presbyopia

Visit your West Vancouver, BC or Squamish, BC Optometrist to Find Out About Treatment Options

Many adults begin to experience presbyopia or a diminished ability to focus on things that are close, as they get older. With the increasing worldwide population reaching older ages, a significant number of individuals are developing the condition, which currently cannot be avoided.

Theories about the cause of presbyopia are that the human eye will often harden by the age of 40, making it more difficult for the eyes to focus in on an object, particularly an object nearby. Those with the condition usually cope with the situation by holding the paper far away or standing back from the object they are looking at. Transitions from focusing on distant objects to nearer ones can often be straining for people with presbyopia. This tension might add to one's discomfort resulting in headaches, eye strain or fatigue.

Most commonly bifocal lenses or progressives (PALs) are used to resolve presbyopia. A bifocal lens is divided into two prescriptions for vision, one is for distance vision and the other part of the lens is for focusing on things nearby. PALs work similarly to bifocals, but the transitions between the two prescriptions are more gradual. Users can more easily change visual focus, as they might with uninhibited sight. An alternative would be reading glasses which, unlike bifocals or PALs which are worn continually, are used only when needed.

Presbyopes can also use multifocal contact lenses or monovision lens correction (in which one eye is prescribed a correction for distance vision and the other near vision) to improve their condition. Individuals adjust differently to multifocal lenses, so it may take some time to decide if and in what combination they work for you.

In addition, there are surgical options available that should be talked over with your eye doctor. A significant number of patients are most successful using a combination of treatments for presbyopia. Furthermore, since presbyopia will likely worsen as you age, you will probably be required to keep adapting your prescription. The positive news is, there is a significant amount of experimental treatment on the market currently to identify additional and perhaps more permanent solutions for the growing number of people dealing with presbyopia.

If you are beginning to notice signs of presbyopia, book a visit with your Squamish or West Vancouver, BC eye doctor. Better vision can be yours!