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What is presbyopia?

Presbyopia is, unfortunately, an age-related refractive condition where the patient experiences a loss of focus for objects close by, as the lens inside the eye becomes less flexible with time, and needs reading glasses.

Presbyopia may occur in a person with good distance vision or with any of the other refractive errors (astigmatism, myopia and hyperopia). It is often incorrectly referred to as long- sightedness because some long- sighted patients also only require reading glasses.

What are the symptoms?

Presbyopia is a natural part of the ageing process. Onset is gradual and becomes more and more noticeable for people aged 40 onwards. By their 60s, many people will have lost most of the elasticity of the lens needed to focus up close.

The symptoms for presbyopia are related to the struggle to focus on objects close by.

Common symptoms:

  • You struggle to focus on objects close by
  • You increasingly have to hold reading materials further away, need more light to read by and are more comfortable reading in larger print.

What are the causes?

When shifting focus between objects, the lens of the eye is required to change its shape depending on whether the object is in the distance or close by. This shifting ability is known as the elasticity of the lens. As people become older, this elasticity often becomes lost; as the lens becomes stiffer, the eye loses its ability to focus on nearby objects.


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