What is Presbyopia?
Presbyopia is the loss of the eye’s ability to focus on objects nearest you. Presbyopia is not a disease and is believed to be caused by the gradual loss of flexibility in the lens to focus close up. Unlike astigmatism, farsightedness and nearsightedness which are defects in the eye, Presbyopia is a natural result of aging.
This is one of the most common conditions that can affect your vision and at some point in our lives we eventually develop it. Presbyopia typically begins in a person’s early 40s and the name comes from a Greek word meaning ‘elder eye’.
How Does Presbyopia Affect Your Vision?
For most of us the condition is most noticeable when reading, working at a computer or performing any activity closer than an arm’s length away. If you find extending your arms out will help you focus, while reading for example, you likely have Presbyopia.
As the condition develops, you may find it difficult to concentrating while reading or you may find that your eyes become sore. While performing periods of close up work you may experience headaches or fatigue.
Presbyopia does not affect distance vision.
Can I Wear Contact Lenses to Correct Presbyopia?
The most common correction method for Presbyopia comes in the form of eye wear. Often a basic pair of over the counter reading glasses may be sufficient. In advanced cases an eye exam may be required to correct the issue and require prescriptive lenses. These glasses are typically bifocals or progressive lenses and may also correct for other conditions found during the exam.
The good news is that there are a full range of contact lens products that match the capabilities of eye glasses. Contact lenses are perfect for those people who may find glasses uncomfortable or prefer the way they look in contacts. Active people and those who participate in athletics also enjoy the freedom and convenience provided by contact lenses.
Many manufacturers offer contact lenses used in treating Presbyopia. These lenses are offered in both rigid gas permeable and soft (silicone) materials with daily disposable and extended wear options. Silicone hydrogel lens material allows more oxygen to reach the cornea and provides greater comfort. Brands such as Acuvue (Vistakon), Air Optix Aqua (CIBA), PureVision (Bausch + Lomb) and Biofinity (CooperVision) all have products that are used to correct Presbyopia.
If you believe you may have Presbyopia or have it but are considering moving to contacts, please see your eye doctor.