What is presbyopia ?

If you have noticed that your eyes do not see as clearly as they used to when reading paperwork or the computer screen, or you have to hold items further away to see them clearly, you are likely experiencing symptoms of presbyopia.  Presbyopia is an age-related process that onsets around the age of 40, and results from our focusing system losing its ability to focus on close objects. 



Your regular eye care examinations test for presbyopia, and your eye care professional will advise you when correction is needed.  Eyeglasses or contact lenses can correct presbyopia, and there are many options available. Some patients choose to have eyeglasses that can correct for both far and near vision, while others use glasses just for reading.  The most popular eyeglass option is the “progressive lens,” which is a lens design where the distance correction in the top portion of the lens gradually changes into the reading correction near the bottom. There are also contact lens designs to correct for distance and near vision.


Gas permeable lenses work with the tear layer of the eye to correct our prescription to the finest degree, providing vision superior to soft contact lenses. Because of the tear layer, the lens can spin and move on the eye without disrupting vision clarity, unlike soft lenses that correct astigmatism that can cause vision fluctuations if the lens spins or moves with a blink.


Many people are intimidated by gas permeable contact lenses, as they fear difficulties in lens handling and comfort.  As a new gas permeable lens wearer, a patient is may be aware of the lens on their eye. Because the lens is small and interacts with the upper and lower eyelids, it can take some time for the eyelids to adapt.  Once the eyelids are accustomed to wearing a contact lens, the gas permeable lens is worn comfortably.


Progressive spectacle lenses can provide excellent far, near and intermediate vision quality for a patient with presbyopia.  Progressive lens optics set the distance power in the top portion of the lens, and gradually changes into near power in the bottom area of the lens.  By separating the optics into near, intermediate and far zones, visual acuity is optimized.  All presbyopes want to see well, but not all presbyopes want to wear glasses.  A contact lens that can separate the progressive optics like a spectacle lens would be ideal for a patient requiring clear vision at all distances.   


If you are interested in learning about presbyopia or having an eye evaluation, contact your local eye care professional.