Presbyopia affects nearly 3 million Canadians (an estimate based on our population and the general rate of presbyopia occurrence in developed societies), and as more Canadians approach their 40’s and 50’s, thousands more are likely to develop it as well.
Presbyopia is not an eye disease; it is a refractive error that develops over time due to a gradual change of the eye’s crystalline lens. It is not preventable and is something that all of us will eventually have to confront.
As we age our eyes change- this is a fact understood by anyone who wears glasses or contact lenses. However, eventually people that have had perfectly healthy eyes and ideal vision will eventually have to correct their vision as presbyopia progresses.
Presbyopia is best diagnosed during an eye exam, where the changes it causes to your visual acuity can be detected and quantified.
Unfortunately, presbyopia cannot be cured. However, as it progresses and alters your vision, its effects can largely be mitigated by updating your corrective lens prescription.
The Canadian Association of Optometrists strongly recommends annual eye exams for all Canadians. One can argue the need if you’re younger and have great vision, but as we reach 40 (and older), there’s no denying the benefits that annual eye exams provide- of which, compensating for presbyopia is an important one.
Most people experiencing presbyopia require an update to their corrective lens prescription every two or three years.
Other options exist to address presbyopia, though their effectiveness and relative complexity make them difficult to recommend over simple eyeglasses.
Laser corrective surgery can be performed one those with presbyopia. However, there is a strong probability that the corrective prescription will change and diminish the effectiveness of the surgery.
Presbyopia typically begins to present in Canadians age 40 and older, though it rarely occurs in people younger than 40. Sex, ethnic background, and other markers do not influence this- all of us will experience presbyopia eventually.
Symptoms associated with presbyopia are not unlike symptoms experienced from other refractive errors. Blurry close-up vision, challenges reading or making out fine details at night, eye fatigue, and headaches are all common.
If you’ve ever seen someone reading a newspaper or their smartphone at full arm’s length, you’ve seen presbyopia’s symptoms in action.