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Presbyopia (Aging Eyes)

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Presbyopia is a common occurrence and the result of aging, noticeably in those over 35-40 years. It is normally met with gradual onset and characterized by having difficulties focusing close up. Most refer to this condition as ‘aging eye syndrome’ and is a natural progression of the aging process.

Common Causes of Presbyopia

Presbyopia is a problem cause by a refraction error in the eye.  Although no one has a definitive answer to the causes of Presbyopia, a natural hardening of the once flexible lens and loss in elasticity can be a contributing factor. As a result, this prevents light from focusing directly onto the retina, subsequently causing objects at close range to appear blurry. There is a loosening of the muscle fibers which occurs overtime and prevents the eye from easily reshaping.
When we are young, our eyes are malleable and flexible allowing us to quickly focus from one object to another, near to far. As we age, our eyes age along with us. Muscles weaken and stamina is lost, causing strain and difficulty focusing for longer periods of time.

Signs and Symptoms

Changes in your vision typically occur slowly, and over the course of months. Presbyopia is a not a reactive condition and will gradually occur. Some signs and symptoms include:

  • Inability to focus for long periods of time. Like reading, or viewing on tablets and phones
  • Difficulty reading small print
  • Difficulty finding the right length in which to focus. An example would be moving the object up and down within arms length
  • Eye fatigue or strain
  • Frequent Headaches

Treating Presbyopia

Presbyopia can be diagnosed during a comprehensive eye exam by your optometrist. Over 40, it is recommended that routine exams occur more frequently to diagnose and treat Presbyopia before it interferes with your quality of life.
Being an age-related condition, there is no cure but the treatment is one of the easiest and most common solutions in optometry. Prescription eyeglasses with a lower augmented lens corrects symptoms of Presbyopia. These are commonly referred to as bifocals. Other treatment options to consider are contact lenses or corrective eye surgery.
Our eyes are always changing. Regular visits to our optometrist and taking the necessary steps to negate eye strain and fatigue are simple ways to keep your vision at its best.

Written by Dr. Scott Mundle

A University of Waterloo graduate (class of 1983), Dr. Mundle became a partner with Henderson Vision Centre just one year later. Dr. Mundle has been an integral part of Henderson Vision Centre ever since.
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