Posted by: SightTrust Eye Institute in Presbyopia, Refractive Surgery

It comes on gradually, often so slowly you don’t even realize it’s even happening. One day you find yourself in a dimly-lit restaurant and you can barely read the menu. Does that say “cheese steak” or “cheese cake”? You may be wondering why this is happening and find it very frustrating, but as it turns out this is a normal vision change that occurs as we age. 

If you are over the age of 40, chances are you’re developing presbyopia. Presbyopia is caused by our natural lenses losing elasticity and presents as an inability to focus on things that are at reading distance, like menus. With presbyopia, you may experience symptoms such as:

  • Difficulty with reading, phone, or computer vision.
  • Blurred vision at normal reading distance.
  • A need to hold reading material, such as menus, farther away to make the words clearer.
  • Eyestrain or headaches after reading or doing close-up work.
  • Needing brighter light to see close objects.
  • Increased dependence on reading glasses.

While presbyopia is an unfortunate part of aging, everyone goes through it, and there are several options to treat this condition, some even permanently:

  • Eye Glasses
    • The most common and simplest form of presbyopia correction is readers. If your only vision problem is up close, over-the-counter reading glasses may work just fine for you. However, if you have other vision problems, you may need prescription lenses. There are several types: 
      • Bifocals – lenses are split into two sections, one for distance and one for near 
      • Trifocals – lenses have three areas to correct for close, mid-range, and distance
      • Progressive Lenses – these lenses function in a similar way to bifocal and trifocal lenses, but the different sections are more blended as opposed to having distinct zones
  • Contact Lenses
    • If you don’t love the look and feel of glasses, contact lenses are another option to treat presbyopia. There are two types we find most helpful: 
      • Monovision contacts – these contacts correct one eye for distance vision and the other eye for close-up vision, and it takes some training for your brain to adapt to these kinds of lenses. 
      • Multifocal contacts – these lenses have different zones set at different powers to where you are seeing near and far vision at the same time, but your brain learns to select the right focus for what you are looking at in the moment. 
    • Contacts can be expensive, require maintenance and can lead to dry eyes. And not everyone can tolerate wearing contacts.
  • Medication
    • Prescription eye drops such as Vuity may help adjust to see things up close. They tend to cause headaches and make vision in dim lighting difficult. 
  • Surgery
    • Surgical options can improve vision without the need for glasses or contact lenses. Options include:
    • Refractive laser surgery
      • These procedures change the shape of your cornea and can be used make your non-dominant eye focus only up close, creating a monovision effect. Types of refractive surgery include: 
        • LASIK
        • Laser-assisted subepithelial keratectomy (LASEK)
        • Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK)
    • Laser vision correction is not permanent, however, and requires future surgery to re-adjust focus. Also, after laser, you will eventually need cataract surgery and calculating what strength lens you would need is more difficult.

Lens Implants

Refractive lens implants replace your natural lens with a synthetic intraocular lens. These implants permanently correct your near vision while also providing you with sharp distance and intermediate vision. The most common type of lens is the trifocal lens (PanOptix). As a bonus, once the lens is working for you, it never needs to be replaced and you will never develop cataracts, so this procedure does not need to be repeated! And what’s best, you can take advantage of lens replacement surgery at almost any age once you start needing to wear reading glasses!

While presbyopia is a frustrating part of life, you don’t have to let it tie you down with glasses or contact lenses. If you’ve been struggling with reading and computer vision, call our office today to schedule an appointment with our expert team. We’d love nothing more than to help you reclaim your independence and confidence! Contact us at: (877) 878-7890 /