As you may have experienced already, our bodies change as we get older. Our metabolism slows down, we might feel less flexible, our hearing gradually declines, and our eyes age as well making it harder to see clearly. While everyone is different, it’s not uncommon for people to experience worsening vision as they age. Elderly can experience glaucoma, cataracts, or macular degeneration, but these conditions often occur in people who are in their 50s or 60s.

But there is another condition that affects people as they age: presbyopia. This may occur when someone is around 40 years old. If you’re experiencing any change in vision, schedule an eye exam with your local optometrist.

What is Presbyopia?

A normal part of aging, presbyopia is when our eyes gradually lose the ability to see objects clearly when they are close up. If you begin to have a hard time reading and need to move the text further away from your face, this is a common sign of presbyopia. In Greek, the word “presbyopia” means “old eye.”

Symptoms

Even though holding a book or your phone further away from your face may not sound so inconvenient, it’s only a temporary solution, and symptoms can increase as you get older. Vision will continue to deteriorate and being unable to see clearly can also cause headaches, eye strain, and visual fatigue.

What Causes Presbyopia?

An essential part of the eye is the lens, which sits behind the colored iris. The lens works to focus light onto the retina, allowing you to see clearly. When we’re young, the lens is soft and flexible and can easily change shape, which focuses the light and allows you to see objects both near and far. However, as we age, proteins within the lens become harder and less elastic, making it difficult for the lens to change shape. With less and less elasticity, it becomes harder and harder for the lens, as well as for muscle fibers around the lens to focus on objects.

Treatment For Presbyopia

Presbyopia cannot be stopped or cured, but there are methods of treating the vision impairment.

  • Eyeglasses: One of the most popular treatment options is progressive eyeglasses. The glasses don’t have any lines on the lenses but can help restore vision for close up objects while not disturbing vision for objects in the distance.
  • Photochromic Lenses: People with presbyopia may experience sensitivity to light as well. Photochromic lenses darken automatically in sunlight to reduce sensitivity.
  • Reading Glasses: If your distant vision is well enough and you don’t want to wear glasses at all times, reading glasses could be a solution. These only need to be worn when you’re reading or looking at things up close.
  • Contact Lenses: Multifocal contacts are also an option, and they are available in both gas permeable and soft lens materials.

Preventing Presbyopia

Unfortunately, there isn’t a way of preventing presbyopia. Despite some claims that certain eye exercises can prevent the condition, there is no proof that they actually help – our eyes simply change as we grow older. However, there are some ways where you can maintain your overall eye health throughout your life.

  • Reduce eye strain by ensuring adequate lighting.
  • Schedule regular eye exams with your optometrist.
  • Eat a balanced diet with plenty of green vegetables.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Limit alcohol.
  • Quit smoking.

Schedule an Appointment With Spectrum Eye Care in Colorado Springs

Spectrum Eye Care is committed to providing our patients with the thorough eye care that they need throughout their lives. Aging is unavoidable, but you can make sure that you’re as healthy as possible and living a quality life by getting the care you need. Our team of optometrists offer exceptional care and support and can ensure that you get the treatment that is best for you. If you haven’t had an eye exam in the last year and are experiencing any vision problems, reach out to our staff today.