Your Eyes After 40: Presbyopia

Close,Up,Shot,Of,Cheerful,Satisfied,Attractive,Male,With,Stubble,As you age, you may notice that it becomes harder to see items up close. This condition is called presbyopia. It’s a gradual loss that usually becomes noticeable in your early to mid-40s. For many people, it worsens until you reach about 65. You may find yourself having to hold papers and books at arm’s length to read them. The condition is correctable with contact lenses or glasses. In some cases, surgery can correct presbyopia.

Symptoms of Presbyopia

In addition to having to hold written items at arm’s length to read, symptoms of presbyopia include:

  • Blurry vision at normal reading distances
  • Eyestrain after reading or doing close-up work
  • Headaches after reading or doing close-up work

These symptoms are worse for some people if they are tired or are trying to read or work in dim lighting.

Causes of Presbyopia

The cornea and the lens in your eye focus on light reflected from the objects you are looking at. The closer the object is to your eye, the more the lens flexes. The cornea is the front surface of your eye, which is shaped like a dome. The lens is about the size of an M&M and has a clear structure. Both refract the light that enters your eye and focus what you see on the retina, which is on the back wall of your eye.

The cornea is not flexible, though the lens is. The muscle that surrounds the lens flexes the lens to focus on what you are looking at. To see something at a distance, the muscle relaxes. To see something close-up, it constricts. Changing the curve changes the focus power.

When the lens hardens, it doesn’t change shape, so it can focus on whatever you’re looking at close up, making objects look blurry. This is presbyopia.

Risk Factors for Presbyopia

You are more likely to develop presbyopia if:

  • You are over 40.
  • You have certain diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, or multiple sclerosis.
  • You are farsighted.
  • You are on antihistamines, antidepressants and/or diuretics.

If you are on any of these medications or have any of these conditions, you could develop presbyopia earlier than age 40.

Where to Find Treatment for Presbyopia in Loveland, CO

Kirk Eye Center serves Loveland and the surrounding areas in Colorado. To learn more about presbyopia, speak with Dr. John Kirk or Dr. Dustin Asay. To schedule an appointment, please call our office at 970-669-1107.

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