As we get older there is a natural deterioration of our reading vision and the name given to this is presbyopia. Presbyopia typically occurs between the ages of 40 – 45 years old and is the same for both men and women.
Presbyopia is caused by the natural loss of the focusing power of the lens within our eyes. As is the case in a camera, the role of the lens within our eye is to focus on whatever it is that we are looking at. As we get older our lens loses its elasticity and the muscles which control it lose their effectiveness, both of which result in us needing glasses for close vision tasks.
There are a few different ways in which presbyopia may affect your vision depending on whether you are long-sighted, short-sighted or have had perfect eyesight right up until your 40’s.
How Presbyopia Affects Your Vision:
- Perfect eyesight all your life: If you have had perfect eyesight all your life this means that your eyes naturally focus light exactly onto the retina and hence you see perfectly. However, as you approach your mid 40’s, the lens in your eye loses its focusing power and you will start holding reading material further away to try and read it. The reason your distance vision is not affected is that to see things clearly far away, the lens in your eye hardly needs to exert any focusing power at all. However, for close vision tasks, you require your lens to focus but this becomes more difficult as the lens ages. The closer something is to you the more focussing power is needed and this explains why people hold things further away when they try to read. Such people will end up needing reading glasses for the rest of their life but may continue to have perfect distance vision.
- Short-sighted: Generally speaking when you are short-sighted you will always be able to see things up close when you take your distance vision glasses off. How close you need to hold things depends on how short-sighted you are. If you are very short-sighted e.g. -10.00 you would need to hold a book 10 cm away from your eyes to read it. If you are -2.50 then you would be able to read something at 40 cm which is about the perfect reading distance. However, as you get older and the lens in your eye loses its focusing power, you will find you will need to take your distance vision spectacles off more and more when you need to read something. This initially may only be when you are reading very fine print or when the lighting is not good, but as presbyopia fully progresses you will have to take your glasses off every time you need to see/read anything up close. When it gets to this level, most people opt for varifocals in their glasses which enables distance, intermediate and near vision all to be clear simultaneously. Those people wearing contact lenses will need to start wearing multifocal contact lenses or more commonly monovision contact lens correction.
- Long-sighted: Most people who are long sighted will typically initially only need spectacles for near vision but as they get older their distance vision will also start to deteriorate.
In order to treat presbyopia, there are a number of laser eye surgery techniques available and these are explained below:
The 5 Main Ways Laser Eye Surgery Can Correct Presbyopia:
- Perfect Distance vision with reading spectacles as required: This effectively means that the surgeon will correct your distance vision so you do not need to wear spectacles or contact lenses to walk around in, drive etc. but you will still require reading spectacles for close tasks.
- Monovision laser eye surgery: This simply means that laser eye surgery corrects one eye to see perfectly in the distance and the other eye to see perfectly for near vision.
- CK Surgery: This is a non-invasive technique which uses radio waves (instead of laser) to correct your near vision.
- Kamra Vision: Kamra vision uses a tiny implant within your cornea to significantly improve your reading vision.
- Laser blended vision: You can read about this here.