What is Presbyopia?

Presbyopia is also known as age-related farsightedness. When a person is farsighted, anything close to them is blurry but far away things appear clear. After age 40, the lens and muscles around the lens in the eye loses the flexibility it had, causing presbyopia. There is no way known to prevent presbyopia. Like gray hair and wrinkles, everyone after age 40 gets presbyopia.

People with myopia or nearsightedness since childhood may discover that the combination of myopia and presbyopia improves their vision. However, most people do need some sort of vision correction in order to see well enough to perform daily tasks.

What are the Symptoms of Presbyopia?

Common symptoms of presbyopia include headaches caused by eyestrain; having to hold reading material at arm’s length in order to read; more and more difficulty reading small print or performing tasks like embroidery which require hand-eye coordination.

Although this is not a lethal condition, presbyopia should not be ignored because it does not go away on its own but often gets worse over time. Farsighted people are prone to accidents which could injure themselves badly.

How is Presbyopia Treated?

The good news is that presbyopia is often easily treated with eyeglasses or contact lenses. It is highly recommended to get an eye exam in order to make sure there are no other complications to vision other than presbyopia. People over 40 should get an eye exam every year for many reasons such as to get glaucoma tests and to make sure the presbyopia has not worsened. If it has worsened, new prescriptions for glasses or contact lenses will be needed.

Surgery is usually not necessary to treat presbyopia. However, many people choose to have eye surgery in order to avoid wearing glasses or contact lenses. Types of eye surgeries that have helped treat presbyopia include LASIK (laser assisted eye surgery) or conductive keratoplasty (CK.) Surgery is not a permanent solution as eyesight eventually reverts back to farsightedness.

One radical surgery called a refractive lens exchange has a good success rate but is not without risks. The surgery removed the eye’s lenses and replaced them with artificial lenses.

Last Reviewed:
October 09, 2016
Last Updated:
August 30, 2017