As we age, it naturally gets harder to read up close, even though distant vision remains clear – it happens to everyone and until recently the only option was to wear reading glasses. This natural aging process is called presbyopia and starts to affect everyone in their late 40s.
It’s not just our ability to read that becomes problematic – presbyopia makes it hard to use devices like phones, tablets and computers that have become an important part of our work and modern life. Thankfully, modern medical technology gives us several alternatives to glasses and contact lenses which we can offer to our patients.
Presbyopia is an inevitable age-related process. It is a gradual hardening and loss of flexibility of the natural lens inside your eye.
These age-related changes occur within lens, making it less elastic over time. Age-related changes also take place in the muscle fibres surrounding the lens. With less elasticity, it gets increasingly difficult for the eyes to focus on close objects.
In our early to mid 40’s, we can still manage to read by holding things further away and using brighter light – but this doesn’t last long. Most people will need reading glasses (or progressive lenses) to read small print by their late 40’s and will probably need glasses for all tasks within arm’s length from age 50 and up. There is no current way of reversing the ageing process of the lens but there are several treatment options available:
Glasses of course can be prescribed by your optometrist for any age or stage of this process but will need to be updated regularly to maintain clear and comfortable reading vision. Without these reading glasses, headaches, eyestrain and fatigue are very common. As the eyes age, distance vision can be affected as well so individuals often end up with 2 or even 3 different strengths of glasses, or have to use bifocal or graduated (progressive focus) glasses.
Contact lenses are an option, but it’s hard to see to put them in if you can’t see up close. As we get older, dry eyes are also common and this can make wearing contact lenses difficult.
It’s currently not possible to restore flexibility to the natural lens but almost all people can take advantage of an option called Blended Vision
Blended Vision means that the eyesight is adjusted so that when the two eyes working together, they cover a greater range of focus than either eye could by itself. The human brain and vision are incredibly adaptable and Blended Vision gives excellent freedom from glasses for most tasks and everyday life.
Blended Vision is the preferred option of most eye surgeons and their staff, for their own eyes after age 50.
Blended Vision can be achieved using Wavefront-Guided LASIK (W-G LASIK) or Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) to adjust one or both eyes.
The decision on which procedure is best for you will depend on how poor your vision is, your age and any other eye conditions you might have such as early cataracts. As a general guide, WG-LASIK is better for 40-55 year olds with otherwise heathy eyes, and Refractive Lens Exchange is better for those over 55.
Refractive lens exchange can be used to insert Multifocal Lens implants that can give a good range of focus but compromise night-time driving and give less sharpness and contrast in many real life situations.
A free assessment with our team is the best step to find out which is the best procedure for your eyes – either a Virtual Assessment over the phone or a comprehensive assessment with our team at Re:Vision. We will discuss very carefully which options are a right match for you and the things you use your eyes for day to day.
Presbyopia is a normal part of the aging process, and we’re all going to have to deal with it sometime after age 40. Whichever option you choose – eyeglasses, contact lenses or vision correction procedures, you’ll be able to easily read messages on your phone or a book to your granddaughter without any trouble.
"Dear Dr Trevor Gray and Team, I had my cataract operation three weeks ago. The best decision I have ever made in my life! I regret I have not done this a long time ago. I was very nervous and on edge about the upcomimg operation on both of my eyes, to be performed on the same day. But your very kind and friendly approach dispelled any apprehension about the required procedure. I can't thank you enough for your excellent professional care before, during and after the cataract operation on both of my eyes. Your team made me feel very relaxed and comfortable. The operation was painless and pretty straightforward. And the end result is miraculous. I had this amazing vision on the day after my operation. The world around me has become brighter and clearer. I couldn't believe it! I had the perfect vision! I could drive my car straight away. No glasses! No contact lenses! When I look back: I have been wearing glasses all my life and my vision was gradaully deteriorating every year. And now for the first time in my life I have 20-20 vision, which I never thought possible. To anyone who is thinking of having this operation done, I strongly recommend Dr Trevor Gray and his team. You will receive the best possible care and attention. I am extremely greatful to this amazing team! Many Blessings to you!"
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You may think that LASIK or Vision Correction is expensive, and while it isn’t cheap, you might be surprised to learn how much money you save when compared to a lifetime of buying glasses or contacts. LASIK will prove a superior investment over the course of 20 years, and you will enjoy the added benefit of not requiring to wear glasses or put in contacts every day.
*This is just an estimate and may vary from each individual’s lifestyle.
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