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Visual impairments: What is presbyopia? How is it treated?

All forms of visual impairment are unpleasant and cause limitations to the freedom of movement of those affected by them. Just with the aid of contact lenses and glasses, people with visual impairment can master most of their daily routine without problems.

As part of a series on the different types of visual conditions, Lentiamo wants to inform you on impairments such as shortsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia) and astigmatism.

Today we are focusing on presbyopia, also known as age-related visual impairment.


What is presbyopia?

Presbyopia is an age-related eye condition that makes it more difficult to see close objects. It usually occurs from the age of 40.

The reason for this is that the eye loses its elasticity, which makes it difficult to focus at close distances.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for presbyopia. However, with simple aids such as mulitfocal contact lenses, presbyopia can be compensated reducing greatly, or even entirely, the loss of sharpness.

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What are the symptoms of presbyopia?

The very first symptom that occurs is the need to move reading material further away from the eyes, to be able focus. Activities such as sewing, reading small print or tailoring, can lead to eye strain which, if continued over a long period of time, shall result in headaches.

Other common symptoms are dizziness and fatigue after reading or after any activity where you need to concentrate.

What causes presbyopia?

Presbyopia is usually associated with increasing age and it often develops gradually, getting worse over time.

Presbyopia is not caused by the shape of the eyeball, which is the cause of other impairments such as nearsightedness and farsightedness.

It is caused by the thickening and reduced flexibility of the lens, so that it can no longer focus correctly on close-ups. The light received from the cornea is not deflected to the retina but behind it, resulting in blurred images and causing eye strain, as the lens tries to focus more effectively. Changes in the muscles surrounding the lens can also contribute to this condition.

How can you treat presbyopia?

Simply visit your eye doctor or optician to take an eye test. Once you've been diagnosed with presbyopia, they will offer you different options for treatment.

Multifocal contact lenses are the best choice to compensate for this kind of vision loss.

Note:

Presbyopia can also be associated to other visual defects, such as nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia) or astigmatism.

Don't hesitate to visit your eye doctor to take an eye test!

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Leonie is the head of content at Lentiamo. She researches medical content, discusses complex matters with our opticians and creates educational texts for our blog, glossary and various guides. Her speciality is to make complex ophthalmological issues understandable.

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