Presbyopia, presbyopia or presbyopia is the reason that most people over the age of 45 have to buy reading glasses. Presbyopia is a normal ametropia that is caused by aging.
What is presbyopia (age-related farsightedness)?
In this sense, presbyopia does not count directly as ametropia, such as farsightedness, short-sightedness or astigmatism, since it is not the result of a change in the pathological sense. See healthknowing for What is the Definition of Corneal Ulcer.
Presbyopia is a natural consequence of the aging process of the eye, in which the lens of the eye loses its elasticity. Some people’s presbyopia doesn’t get as bad as others, but everyone suffers from it at some point.
The lens is no longer able to adjust to objects that are close in front of the eye and thus see them clearly. This adaptability is also known as accommodation and decreases more and more after the age of 40.
Put simply, the cause of presbyopia is age. In the course of the aging process, changes take place in the lens, which make focusing more difficult. As the nucleus of the lens hardens, the lens capsule loses its elasticity.
As a result, the lens is no longer so well able to bulge during accommodation, which is necessary for sharp vision. Although this process of presbyopia develops in childhood, it only becomes noticeable between the ages of 40 and 50. From the age of 10, the lens begins to stiffen.
The process is slow and must have progressed to a certain extent before you start noticing the difficulty of reading.
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
The first sign can be a gradual change in the arm position when reading the newspaper in the morning. Newspaper readers may also focus more on the lighting conditions than before. The problem is the same: the viewer has a harder time recognizing the sentences, words and numbers.
These signs can also appear when reading an expiration date in the supermarket or a menu in a restaurant. The perception of the early symptoms of presbyopia, also known as presbyopia, is often ignored at first. The signs become clearer when other disturbing symptoms occur. It may be that reading is increasingly perceived as strenuous and tiring.
An unpleasant, dull feeling of pressure can also develop in the area of the forehead and eyes after prolonged reading. Headaches of varying intensity and dizziness can even occur. This phenomenon is amplified by the ongoing aging process. Short-distance perceptions are increasingly perceived as fuzzy and blurry due to the decreasing elasticity of the eye lens.
Muscular tensing and squeezing around the eyes also indicates possible presbyopia. It is also symptomatic of presbyopia if other people’s reading glasses are used on loan because the writing is said to have become so small. If smaller injuries occur unusually often during manual work, it can also be an age-related visual impairment. There are also signs of changes in near vision when using screens.
Diagnosis & History
Presbyopia is diagnosed on the basis of an eye test at the ophthalmologist, which is carried out due to a noticeable deterioration in vision. A more specific examination is usually not necessary if presbyopia is detected. As already mentioned, the course is very slow, so that the eye’s ability to adapt has decreased so much that it becomes noticeable only in the fourth or fifth decade of life. From this point on, you basically have to become a wearer of reading glasses.
Normally, presbyopia is a normal side effect of aging and can be corrected by wearing close-up glasses or by eye laser surgery. Since the near point moves further and further away from the eye with increasing age, most people suffer from this form of ametropia from around the age of 40.
Complications usually only occur if the ametropia is not compensated for by a suitable, individually adapted visual aid, for example reading glasses or work glasses. Without glasses, the eye muscles are overstrained and this can lead to fatigue, headaches and a dull feeling of pressure in the forehead or eyes. Eyesight can also deteriorate further from eyestrain.
In addition, poor close-up vision can lead to further problems when objects that one has to work with can no longer be recognized correctly, which in some professions increases the risk of accidents. If the presbyopia is accompanied by clouding of the lens, as is the case with cataracts, an operation must be performed and an artificial lens must be inserted.
When should you go to the doctor?
If your eyesight deteriorates with age, you should consult your family doctor or ophthalmologist. Problems reading magazines or labels indicate presbyopia, which is best clarified quickly. Wearing glasses and taking care of your eyes is usually enough to alleviate the suffering. Older people are at particularly high risk of developing presbyopia.
People who work a lot on a screen or come into contact with pollutants at work are also among the risk groups and should see a doctor if they experience visual problems. In addition to the ophthalmologist, an optician and, if necessary, a surgeon must also be consulted. If the symptoms get worse, the visual aids must be adjusted. Surgical treatment of the condition is possible if the visual acuity is severely reduced or occurs in connection with external influences. Typical presbyopia is a normal age-related loss of function and can only be corrected to a limited extent.
Treatment & Therapy
Presbyopia cannot be treated in the direct sense, but the ametropia can only be corrected by wearing reading glasses.
The lens of the glasses is convex. How strong the glasses need to be depends on how old the wearer is and how far the reading distance is from the eye. The closer something is to be in front of the eye, the greater the strength of the glasses for presbyopia. If you already have ametropia, i.e. short-sightedness or far-sightedness, varifocal glasses are a good idea, with which you can read or work close up at the same time if you have presbyopia.
Contact lenses can also be worn with presbyopia. Anyone who is already used to contact lenses due to other ametropia can also choose varifocal contact lenses to correct preybyopia. If presbyopia is very pronounced in older people, it may make sense to have an eye operation in which your own lens is replaced with an artificial one.
Unfortunately, presbyopia cannot be corrected with lasers, since the cornea is changed during the operation; the lens stiffens in presbyopia and can therefore not be treated with this method.
Since presbyopia is the natural consequence of the aging process in humans and therefore also of their eyes, it cannot be specifically prevented. However, an attempt can be made to delay presbyopia by training the eyes.
The musculature, which is responsible for the accommodation of the eye, is strengthened, for example, by regularly focusing in the distance and near. This exercise can be done several times a day, especially when you are outside. Sitting in front of a computer or television for a long time can have a negative impact on your eyesight. However, it cannot be determined with certainty whether presbyopia can be slowed down as a result.
Presbyopia is not a clinical picture in its actual meaning. For this reason, follow-up care in the medical sense is not necessary. The development of presbyopia takes place over a longer period of time, during which some signs of progression can be observed. These include, for example, increasing blurring at close range.
Initially with activities such as reading books, tablets, looking at the clock, later also more distant activities such as reading the newspaper or working on the computer screen. Should there be any deterioration, it is advisable to consult the local optician who can remedy the situation with a pair of glasses specially designed for your needs.
But other signs can also indicate that presbyopia has increased again. Headaches, dizziness and also nausea can indicate this. Basically, it is advisable to have your eyes checked every two to three years, from a certain age also in connection with a medical check-up.
If one or more of the above-mentioned difficulties occur beforehand, it is advisable to contact an ophthalmologist or optician immediately. Correctly set and fitted reading, work or varifocal glasses can significantly improve the quality of life.
You can do that yourself
Presbyopia is a natural human development. It does not affect every aging person and the intensity is also individual, but it should be understood as a normal part of the human development process.
As part of self-help, the attitude towards the natural changes in the organism must be checked and changed as soon as necessary. Otherwise, emotional stress occurs, which contributes to a deterioration in well-being and thus increases the risk of further diseases.
The eyes should not be subjected to overload. Intense light exposure or looking into bright sunlight should be avoided. Wearing face masks outdoors is advisable when the sun is shining. Optimized lighting conditions are necessary at all times of the day so that we can see without great effort. Work on screens must be interrupted at regular intervals. Breaks relieve the eyes and allow regeneration to take place. Strained or cramped vision should be avoided. If headaches occur due to vision, an ophthalmologist should be consulted. One’s own behavior must be optimized so that inner tension is reduced.
At the first age-related loss of vision, wearing glasses is advisable. The existing eyesight must be checked at regular intervals so that improvements can be made as quickly as possible in the event of changes.