What is Presbyopia?

presbyopia-1Are you suddenly experiencing problems seeing objects at a close distance? If so, you may have presbyopia,  a very common eye condition that affects people in middle age. Today will begin a three-blog series on presbyopia, available treatment options, and other potential treatment techniques currently being studied by some of our eye surgeons here at Gordon Schanzlin New Vision Institute. Dr. David Schanzlin, one of our experienced ophthalmologists, recently sat down to discuss many aspects of presbyopia and what can be done to help patients maintain a clear focus on near objects.

Dr. David Schanzlin: When a patient in their late 40 or early 50s comes into Gordon Schanzlin New Vision Institute and says “my vision is going bad and my near-vision is blurry,” that patient likely has presbyopia. Presbyopia is a normal ocular condition. It’s a normal process, not a disease. If you have presbyopia, you are losing the ability of the eye to focus on near objects. This is why most people in their mid-40s and beyond wear reading glasses.

The eye has an autofocus system which is constantly keeping images in focus based on a feedback loop through the brain. If the image gets blurred, the muscles in the eye contract in order to change the shape of the lens of the eye to keep the image in focus. As we get older, the eye’s lens becomes harder and more dense, so it’s harder to change its shape. The ligaments that hold the lens to the wall of the eye also eventually become lax. The lens is no longer able to crank in the power to keep the image in focus, and we therefore lose that ability.

What’s interesting is, that loss of focusing ability is very predictable. No matter what your gender or heritage is, we all seem to lose the ability to focus roughly between the ages of 40 and 50. So, what are your options? Well, you can go to the store and get three pairs of reading glasses or you can explore surgical treatment options that can actually reduce your need for corrective eyewear.

In part two of our series on presbyopia, Dr. Michael Gordon joins our conversation about this common eye condition and discusses current treatment options as well as some clinical trials our doctors are involved in that are showing great promise. Be sure to check back on our blog soon!

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