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Are you having trouble focusing on small print, or on words that are held too close to your face? You may have presbyopia. This is a condition that is also referred to as "farsightedness," and means things close to you appear blurry. You can get it at any age from irregularities in the shape of your eyes. However, it is more commonly known as a condition of the aging of the eye. In fact, most people experience it to some degree after age 40 or 50. This is true even if you've only ever been nearsighted or had astigmatism, or if you have had LASIK surgery to correct another eye condition. You will probably still develop presbyopia at some point in your life.
Presbyopia is the result of a gradual thickening and loss of flexibility of your eye's lens. It can happen to both eyes at the same time, or to first one and then the other. It is common and normal for the lens to become stiffer with age, and the stiffness makes you less able to clearly focus on things that are close to you.
There are a high number of people with this condition in the United States right now because we have such a high number of aging Baby Boomers. There were approximately 112 million people in the United States with presbyopia in 2006. That number is expected to increase by at least another 10 million by 2020. Worldwide, nearly 1.3 billion people have it, and the worldwide number is increasing right along with the American number.
While it is a normal part of aging, many people become quite emotional over getting presbyopia, because it is one sign of aging that is impossible to ignore, and hard to hide. It is hard to hide because it requires corrective lenses of some kind. That is the standard presbyopia treatment. Even if you already wear contact lenses, you may need reading glasses or bifocal lenses. If you wear glasses, you may have to change from single lenses to bifocals. And, if you've never worn corrective lenses before, presbyopia correction means you will have to start, at least for reading.
There is also surgery for presbyopia, but it is not as popular of a vision correction choice as lenses.
There is no way to prevent presbyopia, but you can successfully treat it. Just give us a call to set up your eye exam appointment, and we will take it from there. We are looking forward to meeting you and welcoming you to the Lehigh Valley Eye Care Associates family. Call us at (610) 432-3258 to schedule an appointment.