After the age of 40, just about everyone begins to have problems seeing near objects as clearly as they did before. This is due to presbyopia, a progressive vision condition that causes up-close images to appear blurry. Presbyopia can make everyday activities such as reading a menu or looking at a cell phone much more difficult, and typically results in the need for reading glasses. As the condition continues to progress, bifocals or trifocals may eventually become necessary. The good news is, there is now a range of treatments other than glasses and contact lenses that can correct presbyopia and help you see objects at a close distance much more clearly. In fact, our ophthalmologists offer some of the latest treatments available that have proven to help patients significantly reduce the effects of presbyopia and reduce the need for corrective eyewear.
What are the causes of presbyopia?
The natural, crystalline lens of the eye allows us to focus clearly on objects that appear at a close distance. Flexibility of the lens is crucial because it is the ability of the lens to modify itself that allows it to adjust focus, resulting in clear vision at near and far distances. Presbyopia occurs when the crystalline lens begins to lose its elasticity due to the natural aging process. This is why presbyopia is so prevalent among individuals in the mid-40s age range; it is the result of age-related decreased elasticity in the eye’s lens and is likely to affect everyone once they reach middle-age.
What are the symptoms of presbyopia?
Symptoms of presbyopia can vary among patients, but the most common effects include:
- Blurred vision when viewing objects at a close distance
- The “long-arm” effect – the need to hold books, menus, or other objects further away from the eyes in order to focus on them
- Trouble reading
- The need to read large-print books or increase the font-size of text on computers and phones in order to see it clearly
- Headache – particularly while reading or looking at a computer screen
How can presbyopia be treated?
Fortunately, there are a number of advanced treatments available for presbyopia. While reading glasses or bifocals have served as the standard way to treat the condition in the past, the doctors at The Eye Institute of Utah have been part of clinical efforts to help bring state-of-the-art presbyopia correction options to more and more patients.
Here are a few of the presbyopia treatment options available at our practice:
Intraocular lens implants (IOLs) can often be ideal options for presbyopia. These treatments can be performed as part of a cataract surgery or as a stand-alone refractive lens exchange procedure to correct presbyopia. Our practice offers a variety of the most advanced IOLs available, including Multifocal, Accommodating, and Extended-Depth-of-Focus IOLs. By replacing the eye’s natural lens with an intraocular lens implant, our doctors can dramatically improve near vision and reduce the effects of presbyopia.
Raindrop® Near Vision Inlays
Our practice was the first in the state of Utah to offer this revolutionary presbyopia treatment. The FDA-approved Raindrop® Near Vision Inlay is designed to help patients aged 45 to 65 who have been diagnosed with presbyopia. This treatment involves the placement of a tiny, clear implant inside the cornea that can improve light focus, ultimately enhancing vision at near and intermediate distances.
KAMRA™ Corneal Inlay
The KAMRA™ Corneal Inlay was the first corneal inlay available in the United States for the treatment of presbyopia. Even as the condition continues to progress, this FDA-approved treatment can help presbyopic patients improve their near vision and maintain a clearer focus. The KAMRA™ Corneal Inlay is available for patients who are between the ages of 45 and 60 years of age.
Laser Vision Correction
Some patients choose to undergo monovision with LASIK or PRK to correct presbyopia, in addition to nearsightedness or astigmatism. Traditional LASIK only corrects vision at one distance; by utilizing monovision, the surgeon would use advanced laser technology to correct one eye for near vision and the other eye for distance. The eyes would then work together to process and blend images together to see clearly at all distances. Not all patients can adapt to monovision, so your doctor would have you trial this prior to surgery with contact lenses.
One of our experienced eye doctors will meet with you for an initial consultation and vision evaluation. If you are diagnosed with presbyopia, we can talk with you about your options and help you determine which treatment will be the most ideal for your needs.
If you have questions about presbyopia and the treatments we offer here at The Eye Institute of Utah, please contact us today to talk with a helpful member of our team, or to schedule an appointment.