What is presbyopia or old age sight?

People might first notice presbyopia around the age of 40 when they notice that their near vision is not as good as before. This might be in subtle ways at first such as difficulty looking at the time on your watch, reading your mobile phone or  reading


Reading glasses required for day to day activities. Credit : AAO

fine print on labels.

The worsening of near vision  or presbyopia is a natural ageing process that continues till about age 65.

Overcoming Presbyopia

In the beginning, options to overcome presbyopia can include simple changes such as increasing font sizes on smartphones and personal computers. Instead of paper books,  e books are a good alternative  where font sizes can be increased. E-ink based readers like the Amazon Kindle or Barnes & Noble Nook are good choices.

For the  short sighted,  an optician or optometrist could weaken prescriptions to give more near reading ability but at the slight expense of distance vision.

At some point of time, reading glasses, bifocals or progressive glasses may become inevitable.

There are alternative methods of spectacle correction too called “monovision” where the power of (usually the left eye) is corrected for reading distance while the other eye is corrected for distance. However, binocular vision is sacrificed. Also not everyone can tolerate monovision.

There are also surgical procedures to treat presbyopia such as laser refractive surgery, corneal inlays and corneal pin hole inlays. These are still not perfect solutions.

The most successful surgical way to correct presbyopia currently is when significant cataracts (cloudiness of the lens) are also present in the eye. At the time of cataract surgery, multifocal intraocular lens implant can be implanted. These give the eye again the ability to see distance, near and sometimes intermediate vision. The trade off with some of the multifocal intraocular lens implants is glare and haloes from light sources.