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It is estimated that in 2020, around 123 million Americans had presbyopia. Presbyopia is common in adults aged 45 and older, with an estimated prevalence of 83-88.9%.

Presbyopia occurs typically after the age of 40 and causes near objects to appear blurry. As we age, our eye's lens becomes less flexible, making it harder for us to focus on close objects.

Symptoms of presbyopia may include the need to hold objects further away in order to see them clearly, eye strain when reading or doing other close-up work, and difficulty seeing small print. Presbyopia is a natural part of the aging process and is not a disease. It can be corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses, or vision correction surgery.

What are the Different Treatment Options for Presbyopia?

Reading glasses

Reading glasses are a common solution for presbyopia. They work by magnifying the image of the object being viewed, making it appear larger and easier to focus on.

Reading glasses can be through a prescription from an optometrist or ophthalmologist. The strength of the prescription will depend on the severity of the presbyopia. Some people may only need a mild prescription, while others may require a stronger one. Reading glasses are typically worn only when needed for close-up tasks, such as reading or working on the computer.

It is important to note that reading glasses are not a cure for presbyopia and do not stop the condition from progressing. However, they can help improve near vision and make it easier to perform close-up tasks. If you are experiencing difficulty seeing up close and think you may have presbyopia, it is a good idea to see your optometrist or ophthalmologist for a comprehensive eye exam. They can determine the best treatment option for your needs.

Bifocal or multifocal lenses

If you already wear glasses for distance, you have a few options for addressing your near vision. You can wear two pairs of glasses, one for distance and one for reading, or you can opt for multifocal lenses. These lenses come in two types: bifocal and progressive. Bifocal lenses have a visible line separating the distance prescription from the reading prescription, while progressive lenses have a gradient that allows for intermediate distances as well.

Contact lens wearers also have options when it comes to presbyopia. You can wear reading glasses over your distance prescription contacts, or you can try mono vision or multifocal contact lenses. Mono vision means that one lens is focusing for distance and the other is focusing for near, which can take some getting used to as it can impact your depth perception. Multifocal contact lenses allow both eyes to see both distance and near, though some people may experience ghosting or shadowing with these lenses.

Intraocular lens (IOL)

Intraocular lenses are done in a surgical procedure to replace the eye's natural lens with a new lens in order to correct for a refractive error. IOLs are used to treat presbyopia because they can improve the focusing power of the eye. In particular, multifocal IOLs are designed to divide the light that enters the eye into two or more focal points, allowing the patient to see clearly at multiple distances. This can be a particularly effective treatment option for patients who are experiencing presbyopia and want to reduce or eliminate their dependence on reading glasses or bifocal lenses.

Most patients experience a significant improvement in their vision following IOL implantation and are able to return to their normal activities within a few days. It is important to note that IOLs are not suitable for all patients and that the best treatment option will depend on the individual patient's needs and goals.

Learn more about diagnosis and treatment of presbyopia.

Schedule an appointment for an eye exam at our renowned optometry clinic in Olympia, catering to patients from Lakewood, Tacoma, and Lacey. Call (360) 491-2121 or fill out this form to make an appointment today.
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