Maple Eye and Laser Center
What Would it Take to Reverse Presbyopia

What Would it Take to Reverse Presbyopia?

smiling old woman

Have you noticed that you are struggling to read books or magazines? Do things close to your face move in and out of focus? Do you feel like you are straining to see things in close proximity clearly? If you can answer yes to these questions, you may be suffering from an ocular condition known as presbyopia.

What is presbyopia?

The word ‘presbyopia’ originates from the Greek language and is literally interpreted as ‘old eye’. Perhaps then it is unsurprising that the term presbyopia is given to a degenerative condition that is fairly common in patients over the age of 40. It occurs when your eyes gradually lose their ability to see things close by, such as a smartphone screen or newspaper.

There are five varieties of presbyopia:

Incipient presbyopia – the earliest stage of presbyopia, usually characterized by the inability to read smaller print.

Functional presbyopia – issues with reading things close to you become significantly more noticeable.

Nocturnal presbyopia – when it becomes trickier to focus in on nearby objects during times when the lighting conditions are low, such as dusk or night time, or in a darker room.

Absolute presbyopia – you are unable to focus on any nearby object, regardless of the light conditions.

Premature presbyopia – occasionally presbyopia may occur when a patient is under the age of 40. In these instances, it is referred to as premature presbyopia.

What causes presbyopia?

Our eyes have a clear lens that sits just behind our colored iris. When we start life, that lens is soft and flexible, which is important as for us to see things, our lenses must adapt to focus light on to the retina in the right way. When we want to see something close to our face, our lenses change shape and thickness to bring the image into focus.

However, as we get older, naturally-occurring changes within the lenses cause them to lose some of their elasticity. This makes it much harder for the lens to change shape, and subsequently it cannot adapt in the way it needs to for us to see clearly, in particular, the objects that require close attention. As a result, you may find it harder to do tasks such as threading a needle, reading or using your cell phone.

Symptoms of presbyopia

The first symptoms of presbyopia tend to be tiring of the eyes, particularly when you are paying close attention to something. You may also find that it takes longer for your vision to adjust when you go from looking at something nearby to something far away. Nevertheless, over time you will notice a significant disruption in your near-sightedness and may experience headaches and eye strain when attempting to use your vision.

Can presbyopia be reversed?

Unfortunately, there is no real way of reversing presbyopia at the current time. Some experts have suggested that it may be possible in the future if scientists can find a way to restore the elasticity of the lens of the eye. However, this is clearly not as simple as just injecting molecules of naturally-occurring collagen or elastin into the lens. Fortunately, advancements continue to be made in ocular medicine, so hopefully a cure is not too far away.

In the meantime, there are some treatments which can help improve your vision. Eye glasses and contact lenses have long been used to treat refractive conditions like presbyopia, and they are usually highly successful.

If you wish to consider a more permanent solution, then you may wish to consider refractive surgery. It is important to recognize that while refractive surgery can substantially improve your vision, there is no guarantee that you won’t need to wear glasses or contact lenses to help further improve your sight after your operation.

Refractive surgery is performed with a laser, which works by reshaping the cornea so that the patient’s vision is much clearer. In cases of presbyopia, the patient usually has one cornea reshaped to provide clear near vision in one eye, and clear far vision in the other. While this sounds unbalanced, most patients quickly adapt to seeing this way and can reap the benefits of both clear near and far eyesight. Your eye doctor will be able to give you monovision lenses to try at your consultation that replicate the way you will see after refractive surgery for presbyopia. This will enable youdecide if surgery is the right choice for you.

If you are suffering from presbyopia and would like to discuss your treatment options, or if you have not yet been diagnosed but believe you may be affected, our friendly, knowledgeable team are on hand to help. We can perform a thorough assessment of your vision and provide an accurate diagnosis, then help you find the treatment that is most suitable for you. To arrange your appointment, please feel free to telephone our offices. We look forward to helping you achieve clearer vision.