What is presbyopia?

Presbyopia is the gradual deterioration of our vision. Unfortunately, this is just another part of the ageing process, which means this will likely happen to all of us as we enter our 40s. It’s nothing to worry about, and it’s easily treated.


What are the symptoms of presbyopia?

When you are in your early to mid-40s, you might start to notice the following symptoms:

  • Holding reading material at arm's length to see it clearly
  • Squinting to read the small print
  • Things look a little blurry up close
  • Seeing flashes of light, black spots or halos around lights


What causes presbyopia?

As mentioned above, this is just a normal part of the ageing process for most of us. As we get older, the lens at the front of our eye becomes more rigid so that it can’t focus light onto the retina, at the back of our eye, properly. As a result, things can look a bit blurry.


Can presbyopia lead to blindness?

Presbyopia is a degenerative eye condition, so the quality of your vision will deteriorate with time. However, you will not lose your up-close vision completely or go blind because of presbyopia.


Is there a treatment available for presbyopia?

Presbyopia is diagnosed by a basic eye exam, which includes a refraction assessment and an eye health exam. The Optometrist will undertake an eye test and advise whether a prescription for glasses or contact lenses is needed. These may be a pair of reading glasses, or if you already wear glasses for short-sightedness, a pair of varifocal lenses which combine reading and distance prescriptions into one pair of glasses.

You may be entitled to eyecare on the NHS, if you are under 16, over 60 or receiving certain benefits. You can find out more about NHS Eye Care here.


How do I get help?

If you’re worried you may have symptoms of presbyopia, you should book an appointment with your Optician or doctor at the earliest opportunity. If they’re unavailable, visit your nearest emergency department.

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