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Presbyopia is the normal change in near vision that develops with time, gradually affecting individuals older than 40 years. The lens inside your eye progressively loses its ability to change shape and thus focus for close-up objects, a process that starts in childhood but tends to cause symptoms only later in life. The ageing process of your lens is also known as dysfunctional lens syndrome.
Presbyopia is a growing cause of visual disability due to the increased use of smaller print or fonts, and also increased use of smartphones, tablets and computers for leisure and business.
The first symptoms are increasing tiredness and strain when reading small print, particularly when this is required for prolonged periods. The ability to focus from distance to near and vice versa becomes sluggish. Throughout the next decade, the quality of vision for near (and distance) decreases and there is a growing tendency to hold your phone, magazine or book further away in order to bring text and images into focus. You may also find that you rely more on the use of bright light to aid your reading.
Presbyopia is caused by a natural decline in the elasticity of the normal lens inside your eye. Although the muscles that move the lens tend not to lose their ability, your lens becomes stiffer throughout life, losing its ability to accommodate and therefore focus at a range of distances. This occurs largely due to age-related changes in the lens proteins and lens capsule.
Presbyopia and other refractive errors – short-sightedness (myopia), long-sightedness (hyperopia) or astigmatism – can be diagnosed by your optometrist (optician) or eye doctor. The examination involves a refraction in order to assess the refractive status of the eye. Other abnormalities of the eye, such as cataract, glaucoma or retinal conditions, may also be contributing to your symptoms and can be detected at this assessment.
The elasticity of your natural lens cannot be restored! There are however some great options available to help you see better:
Multifocal contact lenses are becoming increasingly popular. They can provide good distance and near vision, but commonly their quality of vision is affected by movement of the contact lens with blinking. Contact lens wear does also carry on-going and long-term risks, such as dry eye, intolerance, infection and visual loss.
PRESBYOND is a variant of LASIK laser eye surgery; laser is used to change the refractive properties of the cornea, focusing your dominant eye for distance and the other eye for near vision. It is different to traditional monovision, as the sophisticated wavefront laser profile expands the depth of focus for each eye and creates a smooth transition (blend zone) between the two eyes. This improves your vision whether you are reading a book or driving a car, reducing or eliminating the need for glasses.
PRESBYOND laser treatment is suitable for the majority of people who require (reading) glasses for near work. Although used primarily to compensate for reading glasses, it is combined with the correction of pre-existing short-sightedness, long-sightedness and astigmatism.
Your natural lens can be replaced with a new multifocal intraocular lens that will provide distance and near vision. The new lens stays in place for life and does not require replacement at a later date. With the appropriate selection of intraocular lens, the procedure also treats underlying refractive errors of the eye, such as short-sightedness, long-sightedness and astigmatism. Refractive lens exchange tends to be performed if you are not suitable for PRESBYOND laser vision correction, e.g. if you have a high prescription, early cataract or a corneal condition that precludes laser eye surgery.
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