Presbyopia: an age-related visual disorder

Of all visual disorders, one in particular affects most people: presbyopia, a refractive defect of the crystalline lens due to its diminished elasticity and related to ageing, which typically occurs after the age of forty

The crystalline lens, in fact, is the ‘lens’ that focuses the objects we are looking at, changing shape according to their distance.

As the years go by, the crystalline lens stiffens and only focuses correctly on objects at a certain distance.

Presbyopia: how does it occur and why?

When reading, do the letters seem to double and do your eyes burn?

Do you struggle to focus on closer objects?

It is very likely that you are developing presbyopia and you should book a consultation with your eye specialist.

Presbyopia is in fact a very common disorder, which develops from the age of 40-45 and can be resolved with the use of special lenses or, in selected cases, with an excimer laser operation.

It is closely associated with advancing age, but can also develop as a result of trauma or as a result of failure to correct a sight defect for which the crystalline lens has had to compensate.

Smoking, exposure to radiation and diseases such as diabetes are also considered risk factors.

However, there is one vision defect that can protect against presbyopia: myopia.

In myopic patients, the visual defect caused by presbyopia may never develop or may occur very late, because the two disorders tend to compensate each other.

Presbyopia: from corrective lenses to surgery

But how can you get back to reading and normal daily activities without any problems?

Once the disorder has been diagnosed, the ophthalmologist will decide whether to refer the patient to corrective lenses or, if possible, to opt for surgery.

As far as glasses are concerned, when presbyopia is still at an early stage it is preferable to postpone their use, to allow the crystalline lens to practice focusing and maintain its elasticity for as long as possible.

In more advanced stages, on the other hand, corrective lenses are an obligatory choice.

Today, multifocal contact lenses are also available on the market, but are not recommended for patients who need single- or bifocal lenses.

Excimer laser surgery is another option, but these treatments, while partly improving near vision, worsen it overall with halos and reduced contrast, while crystalline lens surgery with the new intraocular lenses is very useful when presbyopia evolves into cataracts.

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