Presbyopia: Long-sightedness in our twilight years
The Cause of Presbyopia
Presbyopia is an eye condition which often occurs as we get older. As presbyopia sets in we experience long – sightedness or to give it its scientific name, hypermetropia. Normally it begins when we reach our 40s and becomes more severe over time.
If someone is suffering from hypermetropia from an early age, it is not uncommon for presbyopia to set in at an earlier age.
How Presbyopia Changes our Eyes
When our eyes function normally, our ciliary muscles change the thickness of our lenses to bend light rays into focus on our retina depending on what we are looking at. This brings objects into focus so we can see them. Presbyopia reduces our lenses focussing power, as over time the lenses can become stiff and less malleable.
Though you may be experiencing difficulty seeing objects close to you, when you look at objects in the distance your lenses are still doing a great job as they do not need to alter shape.
There are five kinds of Presbyopia.
This is the term used to describe the condition when it begins to take hold.
This is when the condition becomes more advanced. You will probably struggle to see objects which are close to you.
At this point all ability to see objects near to you has gone.
If you are suffering with the condition before you are 40, you fall into this category. In most cases, people begin to notice the signs of presbyopia around the time they turn 40.
If you suffer with this form of the eye condition then you will have trouble focusing on objects close to you in dull light.
Symptoms and Signs of Presbyopia
The most common sign of presbyopia is when you find yourself holding literature at arm’s length to read it. If this is a new realisation, and you did not have to do this a year ago, you probably are developing a form of presbyopia.
Headaches, eye strain, and fatigue may also be experienced after performing close up work such as hand writing or embroidery. This is another sign that presbyopia is on the way.
Often sufferers report that the aches and pains caused by close up work are worse in dim light. Symptoms may progress to blurred vision when looking at objects which are close to you, and problems focusing when looking at objects close by and then switching your gaze to objects which are far away. Double vision and headaches at this point are not unheard of.
Presbyopia is unavoidable in the sense there are no precautions you can take to avoid it. In 2005 the World Health Organisation published a report estimating that there are around a billion people with the condition in one form or another. Of these, around 517 million did not have access to corrective lenses.
If you are suffering with presbyopia it is not all doom and gloom. There are a range of treatments to help you see objects which are close to you. Get in touch so we can explain them in more depth.