The Ageing of your Eyes: Understanding Presbyopia

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
May 30, 2014
Quick Bites

  • Presbyopia literally means “ageing eye”.
  • This occurs typically during middle and old age.
  • Your eye's lens loses flexibility.
  • It has similar symptoms as hyperopia, which is farsightedness.

Presbyopia literally means “ageing eye”. Your eye which is also ageing along with the rest of your body is causing you difficulty to see objects that are very close. This occurs typically during middle and old age.

During your younger days the lens in your eye is soft and flexible and this lens changes its shape easily, which allows you to focus on far and close objects. After you hit the age of 40 this lens becomes rigid, and then because the lens cannot change its shape as easily as it once did you will find it more difficult to read or see objects at close range. This is what we call presbyopia. This situation develops in almost everyone, and is often worse for those who have hyperopia or farsightedness, and myopia or nearsightedness. Presbyopia combines with these existing conditions.

understanding presbyopia

What is the Cause?

Presbyopia, unlike other errors such as myopia or hyperopia is caused by age related problem, and this leads to the loss of flexibility in the eye’s lens.  It is a refractive error and happens when the eye is shorter than normal or even when it has cornea that is flat. This is why light rays focus beyond the retina which ideally should be focused on it.

Experts say that as we age the changes in the lens’s proteins make the lens rigid and this makes the lens less flexible over a due course of time. The muscles which surround the lens also tend to lose their elasticity. With time as the lens becomes less flexible and unable to change its shape easily, it gets difficult for you to focus on close objects. People over the age of 40 often find themselves holding a reading material farther away so they can see.

Hyperopia happens to be present from borth, presbyopia develops much later, usually during the age of 40.

What are the Symptoms?

The symptoms of hyperopia, which is farsightedness and presbyopia are similar, but they can have different causes. Some of the signs and symptoms of presbyopia are:

•  Eye strain
•  Headaches
•  Tired feeling from doing work that are up close
•  A common symptom of presbyopia is the need to hold reading materials at an arm’s length

nearsightedness in old age

Diagnosis for Hyperopia

Your doctor would diagnose presbyopia as a part of eye testing and in addition to checking other eye problems. The test requires a standard vision test.

The doctor will use a photopter which is an instrument to measure the amount of refractive error that you have and it will help to determine the proper prescription to correct it.

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Read more articles on Eye Disorders.

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