Presbyopia is an eye condition that makes it difficult to see things up close. A result of the natural aging process, presbyopia is extremely common—in fact, according to the National Eye Institute, everyone develops presbyopia as they grow older, most commonly after age 45.
As was noted above, presbyopia is primarily characterized by the inability to clearly view nearby objects. This can cause the eyes to strain, which can in turn lead to:
- Eye fatigue
- Eye soreness
If you have presbyopia, you may notice that you need to hold books, newspapers and magazines farther away from you when reading than you previously did. Presbyopia symptoms tend to gradually worsen over time until about age 65.
Before explaining what causes presbyopia, it may be helpful to first discuss the eye’s anatomy and function. Light enters an eye through the cornea, then passes through the pupil to the lens, which focuses it onto the retina. The retinal photoreceptors then transform the light into electrical impulses and send them through the optic nerve to the brain.
Normally, our lenses are relatively flexible and can easily curve when looking at something up close. However, as we age, our lenses become harder and more rigid, which makes it more difficult for them to properly focus light on the retina. This, in turn, makes nearby objects appear blurrier.
Although many people use the terms “presbyopia” and “farsightedness” interchangeably, they actually refer to two separate conditions. Presbyopia develops when the eye’s lens becomes increasingly rigid, while farsightedness occurs when the eyeball is too short from its front to its rear.
When to See a Doctor for Presbyopia
Presbyopia isn’t a medical emergency, but it’s still important to promptly seek treatment once you begin experiencing the symptoms described above. Presbyopia treatment can help slow the progression of the condition and make it easier to read and perform other routine activities, thereby improving quality of life.
Presbyopia Treatment Options
When you visit an optometrist for a potential presbyopia diagnosis, they’ll likely begin the appointment by asking about your personal and family medical histories, as well as any symptoms you’ve been experiencing. They’ll want to know whether there have been any changes to your eyesight, and if so, when those changes occurred and whether they developed suddenly or gradually. The optometrist will then perform an eye exam, which will likely include a refraction assessment.
In many cases, presbyopia treatment will be limited to wearing prescription eyeglasses (e.g., reading glasses, bifocals or progressive multifocals) or contact lenses (e.g., bifocal contacts, monovision contacts or modified monovision contacts). However, if you would prefer not to use eyewear, you may want to consider undergoing refractive surgery (which involves changing the shape of the cornea) or lens implant surgery (which involves replacing the natural lenses with synthetic ones). An experienced optometrist can recommend the presbyopia treatment approach that’s best suited to your condition, lifestyle and preferences.
The Optometrists to Choose for Presbyopia Treatment in Tampa Bay
If you’re experiencing the presbyopia symptoms described above, don’t delay seeking the eye care you need. Florida Medical Clinic offers a full spectrum of optometry services, including presbyopia treatment, and we’re pleased to serve patients from across the Tampa Bay community.
Click here to schedule an appointment with one of our friendly optometrists—we have optometry centers in Land O’ Lakes and North Tampa for our patients’ convenience. And in the event that you opt to undergo surgery to treat presbyopia, you’ll be glad to know that our optometrists work closely with the ophthalmologists and optical surgeons on our team, providing patients with a comprehensive care experience.
Proudly Serving: Land O’ Lakes, and North Tampa.