What is presbyopia and how can it affect your eyesight?

09 December 2021

Author: Melody Solaimaninajad


We’re not getting any younger…!


As we begin to age, we naturally become more prone to developing certain physical ailments that we would not have suffered from in our youth. When it comes to vision, presbyopia can be one of those issues. This is an eye condition that affects almost everyone as we age, so it’s definitely a condition that’s worth knowing about in advance!

 Presbyopia can impair your ability to see close up, which may result in having to look at objects further away to be able to see clearly, like text messages on a mobile phone. You may need to get reading glasses as a result of this, and this can be a hassle for those who also wear prescription glasses for their distance vision. Luckily, there are a variety of treatments available that can correct your presbyopia, such as RLE (Refractive Lens Exchange) surgery.


What is presbyopia?


Presbyopia is an eye condition that seems similar to hyperopia (long-sightedness), as both eye conditions are refractive errors that can hinder your ability to focus on objects that are nearby. However, the difference between them is that hyperopia can occur at any age, from childhood to adulthood. Presbyopia, however, is specifically an age-related condition that occurs from the age of 40 and onwards, progressively becoming more severe with age and time.  Hyperopia and myopia (short-sightedness) occur when the light rays entering the eye meet either in front or behind the retina, but presbyopia is caused by the dysfunction of the lens. The lens is a lot more flexible when we are younger, and this allows the muscles inside the eye to reshape the lens.


As your eyes flicker between different distances, the lens within the eye responsible for your near vision flexes to help your eye refocus. When you start to age, the lens hardens and progressively loses its elasticity. This prevents the eye from focusing light directly on the retina. Instead, the light is focused behind the retina, leading to poor vision. Subsequently, focusing on nearby objects and doing tasks that require using your near vision, such as reading, become more difficult.


Symptoms of presbyopia


The main symptom of presbyopia is the inability to focus on objects nearby, which you may be experiencing already if you have reached your 40s. Reading, texting, and other tasks that depend on clear near vision become challenging without the use of reading glasses. Some of the other symptoms of presbyopia that you could be suffering from include:


  • Eyestrain or headaches when reading or using screens
  • Having to hold items an arm’s length away to see them clearly
  • Squinting
  • struggling to focus on nearby objects in dim lighting


Research has shown that the premature onset of presbyopia could be caused by overexposure to UV rays. This can lead to the degradation of the crystalline lens, which affects the lens’ elasticity. To reduce your chances of developing premature presbyopia, make sure to protect your eyes from the sun’s UV rays as much as possible – even in the colder seasons. You can find out more about how to protect your eyes from UV rays in our blog here.


How can presbyopia be treated?


For most people, presbyopia can easily be treated with prescription glasses or contact lenses. Using prescription glasses, such as reading glasses, can help you navigate your day-to-day life without hindering your ability to carry out near distance tasks. However, many people also dislike having to depend on reading glasses for near vision all the time. If you are one of these people, then you’ll be glad to know that there are longer-term solutions available to treat your presbyopia.


Lens replacement surgery (also known as Refractive Lens Exchange surgery) can treat your presbyopia by removing the natural lens in the eye and replacing it with an artificial one. This artificial lens is designed to last a lifetime, and it will also eliminate the possibility of developing cataracts later in life, as cataracts can only form with the eye’s natural lens.


At Ultralase, the most popular option for the treatment of presbyopia is multifocal lens surgery. A multifocal lens can give patients clear vision at a variety of distances, both near and far. Not only will it correct your presbyopia, it will also correct any short-sightedness that you might have. This would eradicate the need for glasses or contact lenses completely. Multifocal lenses are only available through the private sector, so this treatment would not be offered by the NHS.



If you suffer from presbyopia and are tired of wearing reading glasses, our lens surgery treatment can offer you the freedom that you desire. You can book a free consultation with us online, or by calling our friendly Customer Services on 0800 988 6390, who are more than happy to help. Get in touch with us and ditch your reading glasses for good!

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