Do you find it harder to see things close up? Maybe you are holding your smartphone at arm’s length just trying to read your messages. If you are over 40, then you are probably suffering from a condition called presbyopia.
Presbyopia a common problem people face as they get older. It usually becomes noticeable after the age of 40 and continues to get worse until around the age of 65. The good news is it’s very treatable. Find out more about why presbyopia is a normal part of the aging process and how making an appointment with your favorite eye doctor in Birmingham can help.
What is Presbyopia?
Presbyopia is the slow and steady loss of near focus. In other words, your eyes are struggling to hone in on anything close. The human eye uses the cornea and lens to focus light as it bounces off objects. When you are looking at something, light reflects back to the cornea, bends toward the lens and then focused so it creates an image on the retina at the back of the eye.
Aging tends to throw a wrench into this smooth process, though, because it changes the lens. A healthy lens is a clear, flexible structure that reshapes as needed with the help of a circular muscle that surrounds it. The lens changes shape based on the distance of what you are seeing. When you are looking at something close, like your phone, the muscle contracts to curve the lens and help focus that light.
As we age, though, the lenses lose flexibility and with it the ability to curve when you are looking at something close to your face. Without that curvature, the light doesn’t focus correctly and you can’t see your messages clearly anymore.
What is the Treatment for Presbyopia?
The most obvious treatment option is reading glasses – even nonprescription products will help. After the doctor confirms the presbyopia, talk about what magnification you might use to resolve mild presbyopia. If you find the over-the-counter glasses ineffective or if you already wear glasses, you’ll need a prescription.
Another practical solution is refractive surgery. The goal is to change the shape of the cornea to accommodate the lens issue.
Presbyopia is a problem that won’t go away on its own and will probably get worse over time. The key is to make an appointment for an exam and talk to the doctor about a treatment option that fits your needs. Without a proper diagnosis, you will continue to struggle to see things near you and your changing vision may lead to other problems like headaches and eye strain.