OHSU

Casey Eye Institute at OHSU, Portland, Oregon

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Presbyopia

hmhlbA type of farsightedness that occurs when the center of the eye's lens hardens, making it more difficult to focus on things close up.

Presbyopia generally begins around age 40 and is part of the eye's natural aging process. It is not a disease and can easily be corrected.

Presbyopia is often confused with farsightedness, but is different. Presbyopia occurs when the eye's lens loses flexibility. Farsightedness is a result of the shape of the eyeball, which causes light rays to bend incorrectly once they have entered the eye.

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Symptoms

  • Blurred vision at a normal reading distance.
  • The need to hold reading material at arm's length.
  • Headaches from doing close work.

Treatment

Presbyopia cannot be cured. Instead, prescription glasses, contact lenses, reading glasses, progressive addition lenses or bifocals can help correct the effects of presbyopia. Bifocals, or eyeglasses with two different prescriptions in one lens, are often prescribed for presbyopia. The main part of the lens contains a prescription for nearsightedness or farsightedness, while the lower portion of the lens holds a stronger prescription to help you see objects up close.

Contact lenses for presbyopia include multifocal lenses, which come in soft or gas permeable versions, and monovision lenses. With monovision, one eye wears a lens for seeing objects at a distance and  the other has a lens that aids in near vision.

Laser refractive surgery to reverse presbyopia is currently being used in Canada and Mexico. However, it is still being investigated in the United States and has not yet been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Talk to your doctor to find out which treatment is best for you.