What is Presbyopia?

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What is Presbyopia?


It’s an autumn day when you hear the sound of a notification on your phone. You squint while extending your forearm focusing on the text your son just sent you. It barely comes into focus. You are not sure when this change occurred. You reminiscent on how you used to read the smallest print of medicine bottles without any issue even in low lighting levels. Now even seeing the dashboard of your car, when driving, requires some squinting. Driving vision is also affected at the end of the day, after extended computer use.

This visual change typically occurs between 40-50 years of age. Sometimes earlier for those who are farsighted. The ability to focus decreases as the lens inside the eyes stiffens. This is a normal process regardless of one’s previous glasses prescription. Although many are discouraged by this new inconvenience, there are comfortable and effective solutions to what is named presbyopia: the gradual loss of the ability to focus on near objects.

Progressive lenses are placed in spectacle frames to allow the viewer to see clearly for distance and near viewing. Looking down through the lower part of the lens, the prescription of the lens changes so that vision is clear at near. Learning how to use the lens takes practice as your eyes and brain will train together over the first few weeks to discover how to use the lens throughout your daily tasks. After a short learning period, wearers of progressive lenses thrive as the new glasses allows the freedom to see clearly at both distance and near without changing frames.

As time goes on, the reading power of the lens is expected to increase. When the reading power is higher, there is a greater difference between the distance and the near power. This can result in a longer learning period when the lens is first used since the brain is not initially used to this change. It is always recommended to begin wearing progressive lenses as soon as you notice these visual changes so that there is a more comfortable learning period.

Talk to your optometrist about progressive glasses as well as other solutions such as multifocal contact lenses.

Written by Dr. Rachel Ng
Markham Optometrist
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