Presbyopia - What Is It and When Did You Get It

Everything you need you need to know about presbyopia.

Have you noticed that your vision isn’t what it used to be? If so, you might be suffering from vision loss, known as presbyopia. Presbyopia is a common eye condition in which the natural lens inside the eye gets harder, leading to blurry vision and trouble focusing. This condition comes on gradually with age and is different for everyone. So what are some ways you can tell if you are experiencing symptoms of presbyopia? Are there any exercises you can do to delay or stop presbyopia? Is there a natural way to improve your vision as you age? Read on to learn more about this condition and all the things you can do to avoid or solve it.

What is presbyopia?

Presbyopia is the loss of your eye's ability to see near objects as clearly as before. It comes with age and affects everyone by about age 45 or 50. It's because the lens inside your eye loses flexibility, which makes it harder to focus on things that are close-up.

Presbyopia can also affect people in their 30s who are nearsighted (nearsighted means you see distant objects clearly but have trouble seeing objects up close). If you're nearsighted and develop presbyopia, you'll notice it when your arms get too short to hold reading material far enough away so that you can see it clearly!

When does presbyopia happen?

Presbyopia usually begins in your early to mid-40s and typically continues to worsen until about age 65. It happens because, with age, the lenses inside your eyes lose their flexibility, which makes it more difficult for your eyes to focus on nearby objects. This makes it harder to do things like reading a book, working on a computer or seeing the dashboard in your car.

What are the symptoms of presbyopia?

Symptoms of presbyopia include:

  • Blurry vision when reading small print or doing close-up work

  • Trouble seeing objects that are close to your face, such as a cell phone, book or newspaper

  • Eye strain or headaches after reading or doing close-up work for long periods of time

  • Holding books or newspapers at arm's length while reading

Overall, the most common symptom is difficulty focusing on near objects — such as small print in books and newspapers or when trying to use a smartphone or tablet. You might also find yourself holding books or menus farther away from your face to see them better.

Related article: Blurry Vision & Headaches: What Does it Mean?

What causes presbyopia?

The exact cause of presbyopia is unknown, but it seems to be related to changes in the lens inside the eye that occurs with aging. The lens loses its flexibility, making it harder for the muscles inside your eye to bend (flex).

Can you prevent presbyopia?

Presbyopia, which means "old eye" in Greek, is a vision condition that affects most people as they age. It's the loss of the near focusing ability of the eye. Typically, this happens around the age of 40. This means there is no way to prevent presbyopia.

Who is at risk for presbyopia?

Presbyopia is common in adults over the age of 40, although it commonly becomes noticeable between the ages of 45 and 50. While it's not something you can prevent, you can help slow the progression by  taking good care of your eyes — including keeping them protected from ultraviolet light and wearing eyewear that's recommended for you by an optometrist or other eye doctor.

Diagnosing presbyopia

Your eye care professional can diagnose presbyopia during a comprehensive eye examination. The eye doctor will take measurements and ask about symptoms to determine if you need reading glasses or bifocals for clear vision at all distances.

Is presbyopia the same as other conditions that affect vision, such as glaucoma or cataracts?

No, presbyopia is not the same as glaucoma, cataracts or other eye diseases. However, you can have more than one eye condition at a time.

Treatment for Presbyopia

The most common solution to treat presbyopia is to wear reading glasses.

But you don't have to resort to wearing glasses. Here are a few ways to treat presbyopia.

Wear bifocals or progressive lenses.

Bifocals (or progressive lenses) allow you to see objects far and near without having to move your head up or down.

Use contact lenses designed for presbyopia.

Monovision contacts may be an option for some people. In monovision, one eye wears a lens that helps you see objects at a distance and the other eye wears a lens that helps you see nearby objects. Your brain will then adjust and use the signals from each eye accordingly. This can be done with both soft and rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses.

Have surgery on your eyes.

Refractive surgeries such as LASIK can correct presbyopia by reshaping the cornea of your eyes.


So if you think you have presbyopia, give your optometrist a call. Presbyopia is a normal process in which the ability of your eye to focus on nearby objects weakens with age.. Without treatment, this natural process leads to blurred vision, eyestrain, headaches. The easy fix is to wear reading glasses when you need them -- in other words, when you’re trying to read -- or the many other alternatives like bifocals or progressive lenses that your optometrist may prescribe.

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Related article: Blurry Vision & Headaches: What Does it Mean?