Close-up eyesight generally starts to decline around age 40 or older as part of the natural aging process. This change in vision is known as presbyopia, and it affects the ability to focus on objects that are near the eyes. It appears because as we age, the lenses in our eyes basically begin to become less flexible. Nearly everyone, even people who have had perfect vision their whole lives, could begin to discover that they need to hold books or other objects farther away to see them. They may also suffer from migraines or eye fatigue from activities that never gave them trouble previously. At our offices in River Forest and Gurnee, IL, the skilled team at Kirk Eye Center can provide a range of options to enhance your eyesight.
Patients who have started to develop presbyopia will frequently first notice difficulty focusing on nearby objects. One obvious red flag of presbyopia is noticing you have to hold objects away from the eyes to be able to see them. Other signs may include headaches or aching eyes after near-vision-intensive tasks, such as writing or using a computer. If left untreated, presbyopia symptoms can become more pronounced.
Presbyopia is not the result of irregular eye shape, even though most visual impairments stem from that. The proteins that are part of the eye's lens are affected by age, especially after a person is 40 years of age, causing the lens to stiffen and lose elasticity. The aging process also takes a toll on the muscle fibers wrapped around the lens. They eventually become weaker and less responsive. Due to this, it is more difficult for the lens to make itself rounder or flatter, which impairs focus.
"I recently went in to see if I could get Lasik. I had perfect vision growing up and with age, I noticed my vision getting worse (Presbyopia). First cheaters in my 40s and then monovision and then bifocal contacts and glasses. Then I node my general vision was also declining. At age 58, this was not how I wanted to continue.After an extensive exam, Dr. Kirk advised me that I wasn’t a "good candidate for Lasik" as he noted an early onset of cataracts. It was not immediately noticeable and there was no cloudiness. Dr. Kirk told me the first clue, which resulted in a much more detailed exam was that my prescription changed a full 2 diopters in one year and that was a sign of possible cataracts. A less detailed exam might not have picked this up until they were more developed. My vision would only continue to get worse and undo the good of the Laisik. While the cataracts would not become an issue for perhaps 15 years, I would need to stay in glasses or contacts and have worsening vision each year. The proposed long-term solution would be to have cataract surgery and then have bifocal lenses implanted. Considered elective surgery, it was costlier than Lasik, but it was a "lifetime" solution, meaning my vision would never worsen after the surgery.After independent research, I agreed and have had both eyes repaired. I had the "Restore" IOLs implanted. Their staff are all very helpful and I had all of my concerns addressed. They did not make promises of perfect vision, only that I would see an great improvement. This type of procedure also meant I would never develop cataracts.The eyes were done one at a time, two weeks apart. The procedures were totally pain free. I did decline any sedation, as I wanted to fully understand what was happening. There was no need for it. The doctors (Scott for the first and Kent for the second) both made sure I understood everything that was going on. The follow up care was excellent.The best way to describe the results are miraculous! I now have 20/20 vision in both eyes and am totally free of any additional eyewear (including cheaters). I also noticed that I no longer saw "floaters" which I had begun to see over the past year. I have crystal clear vision and good not be happier."- R.N. / Yelp / Sep 25, 2014
How we Diagnose PRESBYOPIA
Your eye care professional will perform a comprehensive eye exam to properly diagnose presbyopia and determine your best course of treatment. A few acuity tests may be needed to establish the severity of the condition and determine the level of correction you need. As presbyopia is a vision impairment that stems from the eye’s lens, a certain kind of eye drop may be used to enlarge your pupils. This will allow your doctor to fully check the inside of your eyes and determine how well your lenses are working.
PRESBYOPIA Treatment Options
Typically, people correct their presbyopia using eyeglasses with certain types of lenses. Out of these special lenses, bifocal and progressive lenses are the most common. Progressive lenses do the same job as multifocal lenses but look exactly like general lenses because they don't have obvious lines. Bifocal lenses have a visible line toward the bottom half that begins the area used for up-close vision. Many men and women with presbyopia prefer to just use reading glasses (often called readers) and remove them when they aren't needed for up-close activities. Multifocal contact lenses can also be worn to achieve sharp vision, and monovision contacts are a good choice for those who have both presbyopia and nearsightedness. Also, laser surgery may work to reduce the effects of presbyopia.
How can I treat presbyopia if I already have another visual condition?
It is not rare for presbyopia to occur alongside other eye issues, such as astigmatism, myopia (nearsightedness), or hyperopia (farsightedness). In such cases, Kirk Eye Center can prescribe multifocal or contact lenses to address these conditions.
Are farsightedness and presbyopia the same thing?
While both conditions make it hard to see things up close, they're different. The eyeball's shape causes farsightedness and is often present from birth. Presbyopia is usually caused by aging and most often affects people over 40.
Could I use over-the-counter reading glasses for presbyopia?
Possibly. Over-the-counter reading glasses can be an affordable and convenient solution for some people, but they likely won’t be the best, especially as you age. They are more of a "one-size-fits-all" solution and may not correct your vision if your presbyopia is more advanced, or if you have a different prescription in each eye.
FIGHT AGE-RELATED VISION LOSS
Presbyopia is a normal, age-related condition that is fully manageable with the right glasses or contacts. At Kirk Eye Center, our remarkable team of eye care professionals can help you ditch the problems that come with reduced close-up vision. We perform full eye exams at our locations in River Forest and Gurnee, IL so contact us today.