As most people over 40 can attest to, we get to a point where our near vision starts to change and we can lose the ability to focus on close objects. This condition, called presbyopia, is an age-related condition which, if uncorrected or under-corrected, can significantly impact our quality of life.
Presbyopia is thought to be caused by a loss of flexibility or an increase in size and hardening of the lens and/or the muscle fibers surrounding the lens inside the eye. While there is no way of avoiding it, there are several options to improve this vision change including:
1) Reading glasses: This is the simplest and most common solution for presbyopia. Reading
glasses are designed to help people see objects up close, though they will make the distance vision
blurred when wearing reading glasses.
2) Bifocal lenses: Bifocal lenses have two prescriptions in one lens: one for distance vision and
another for near vision separated by a line in the lens. This can be a good option for people who
need glasses correction to see both far and near objects.
3) Progressive lenses: Progressive lenses are similar to bifocal lenses but with a more gradual
change in power from the top to the bottom of the lens. This allows for a more natural transition
between distance and near vision. It does not have the line in the lens like a bifocal so many prefer
this option for cosmetic reasons.
4) Multifocal contact lens: Multifocal contact lenses are designed to provide both distance and near
vision correction in one lens. They are available in both soft and rigid gas permeable (RGP) varieties.
These lenses often require a compromise to the clarity of our overall vision.
5) Monovision contact lenses: Monovision involves using one contact lens for distance vision and
the other for near vision. This technique can take some time to get used to, but it can be an effective
option for some people.
6) Refractive surgery: Refractive surgery, such as LASIK, PRK, or refractive lens exchange, can also
be used to correct presbyopia. LASIK and PRK involve reshaping the cornea to improve vision at all
distances. A refractive lens exchange is a procedure similar to cataract surgery in which the natural lens of our eye is replaced with an artificial lens that has various focal points to allow for clear
vision at all distances.
7) Pupil modulation eyedrops: These eyedrops are a newly approved treatment option for presbyopia
that are currently only available in the US. They are a miotic drops, which means it causes a pinhole
effect by making the pupil contract. This mimics the eye’s natural ability to focus, allowing for
greater vision at near. Initial studies show that these drops last up to 6 hours. Some of the main side
effects include headaches, redness, blurred vision and eye pain.
If you’ve started struggling with blurred near vision, eye strain, or an increase in headaches with near work, book an appointment with our optometrist to discuss these options and determine which option is best for you.