Up Close and Personal
Near focus decline, presbyopia, is a common, treatable condition
Presbyopia is the gradual decline of the eye’s near focusing due to loss of elasticity in the intraocular lens. It’s also one of the most aggravating vision problems to come to grips with. The worst part? It eventually happens to everyone. But there is good news: It’s an easy fix.
“It sounds like you’ve started to have some difficulty with near tasks since you turned 40. On the intake form, you noted that your eyes feel tired and sometimes objects up close even look blurry. Am I understanding you correctly?”
“Well, it hasn’t been a significant problem. It really only bothers me in dim lighting. Or if I hold something too close. Or if the print is small. Or it’s later in the day. Or when I work on the computer… I am a graphic designer. It’s fine, I just bump up the font size and take breaks every four minutes. Not a problem at all… Some days I don’t even notice it…”
Presbyopia starts to become bothersome in your early to mid-40s and continues to worsen until about age 65. Many patients are confused and concerned by the fact that their vision, “has always been perfect” and suddenly they’re experiencing problems. Presbyopia is normal and there is no correlation between any health problems and presbyopia.
Depending on your specific situation, there are multiple ways to ease the symptoms of presbyopia:
Single vision glasses for near tasks correct only near vision as the name implies. They are worn for things like computer and reading work and either removed or replaced with distance correction to see clearly far away.
Progressive bifocal glasses are a very popular and a more comprehensive option. Distance is viewed clearly through the top portion of the lens and near power progressively increases towards the bottom. Objects at intermediate distances (computers/car dashboards) are viewed with the middle of the lens and near objects (books/cell phones) look clear through the bottom portion.
Computer/workplace glasses function similarly to single vision near glasses but have a progressive near design so that they can offer optimum clarity and comfort for both intermediate and near objects. They are a favorite for those who work in front of a computer for multiple hours a day.
Multifocal contact lenses are an exciting new option for patients who don’t want to deal with the hassle of spectacles. Using rings of variable powers, these lenses allow clear viewing at both distance and near. Many of my patients are very excited to learn glasses aren’t the only option.