Can presbyopia be prevented?

We know that over the years we will all need to wear glasses to see properly. Age decreases the optimal functioning of many of the senses, presbyopia being one of the most common in sight.

What is presbyopia?

This is an eye condition in which the eye slowly loses the ability to quickly focus on nearby objects. It is a disorder that affects everyone during the natural aging process. When light enters the eye, it passes through your cornea; It then passes through the pupil for the iris (the colored ring in your eye that opens and closes the pupil) to adjust the amount of light that passes through it.

After passing through the pupil, light passes through the lens. If the eye is in a healthier state, the lens changes shape so that it can bend light rays further and focus them on the retina at the back of the eye.

Unfortunately, over the years, the lens becomes less flexible with age, so it cannot change shape as easily. As a result, it cannot bend light properly to focus it on the retina.

Main causes

When you are young, the lens of your eye is flexible and relatively elastic. It can change its length or shape with the help of a ring of tiny muscles that surround it. The muscles around the eye can easily reshape and adjust the crystalline lens to accommodate near and far images.

With age, the crystalline lens loses flexibility and begins to harden. As a result, it cannot change shape and contracts to focus close-up images. With this hardening of the lens, the eye gradually loses the ability to focus light directly on the retina.

When you have this eye problem before age 40, it is known as premature presbyopia . Some studies have found that risk factors for early near vision loss vary by gender and may include:

  • Poor nutrition
  • Anemia
  • To smoke
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Work that requires a lot of near vision (like staring at a computer screen all day)
  • Substantial exposure to sunlight
  • Premature menopause

Staring at your mobile phone for too long also increases the risk of developing presbyopia prematurely. Specifically, the data was based on one hour in a single session, or two hours during the day, for six months.

mujer con presbicia prematura

Most common symptoms in presbyopia

The most common signs of presbyopia appear around age 40 in most people. Symptoms generally involve a gradual deterioration in the ability to read or work closely. You will surely notice it for having:

Eyestrain or headaches after reading or working closely

  • Difficulty reading fine print
  • Fatigue from doing close work
  • Needing brighter lighting when reading or working closely
  • Hold reading material at arm’s length to properly focus on it
  • General trouble seeing and concentrating on objects that are close to you
  • Squint

It should not be confused with farsightedness , which is a condition that has symptoms similar to presbyopia. However, they are two different disorders. In both, distant objects are clearly visible, but nearby objects appear blurry. Farsightedness occurs when the eye is shorter than normal or the cornea is too flat. With these malformations, light rays are focused behind the retina, as in presbyopia.

Risk factor’s

The most important risk factor for presbyopia is age . Most people lose some ability to focus on objects in their early 40s. It affects everyone, but some people notice it more than others.

Certain diseases or medications can cause this vision problem in people under 40 years of age. When symptoms of presbyopia occur earlier than usual, it is called premature presbyopia. If you notice the symptoms of presbyopia at an age before normal onset, it may be a sign of an underlying medical condition.

People who are at higher risk of developing this problem prematurely are those who have:

  • Anemia, which is a lack of enough normal blood cells
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes or difficulty metabolizing blood sugar
  • Farsighted or farsighted, which means you have a harder time seeing near objects than objects that are far away
  • Multiple sclerosis, which is a chronic disease that affects the spine and brain
  • Myasthenia gravis, which is a neuromuscular disorder that affects the nerves and muscles
  • Eye trauma or disease
  • Vascular insufficiency or poor blood flow

Some prescription and over-the-counter medications can reduce the eye’s ability to focus close-up images. Taking alcohol, anti-anxiety medications, antidepressants, antihistamines, antipsychotics, antispasmodics, and diuretics can increase the risk of premature presbyopia.

Even being a woman, undergoing intraocular surgery or eating an unhealthy diet are also risk factors.

How is presbyopia diagnosed?

The main thing is to go to a specialist eye doctor to find out if any of the symptoms indicate that you already suffer from this vision problem. Also, even if you don’t experience symptoms, you should have an eye exam before age 40. According to experts, adults who do not have symptoms or risk factors associated with eye disease should have an initial exam at age 40.

An eye exam can identify early signs of disease and vision changes that can begin, sometimes without any symptoms, around this age. Presbyopia can be diagnosed as part of a comprehensive eye exam. A typical exam will include tests to evaluate your eyes for vision disorders and diseases.

The pupils will likely be dilated with special eye drops to allow the doctor to examine the inside of the eye. The eyes may remain slightly sensitive to light for several hours after the exam.

Recommendations for getting an eye exam vary as you age, depending on your age:

  • From 40 to 54 years: Every two or three years
  • 55 to 64 years: Every one to three years
  • 65 years or older: Every one to two years

If you wear glasses or contact lenses or are at higher risk for certain eye conditions, you may need to see an eye doctor more often.

mujer con presbicia

Is there treatment to reduce the symptoms?

Unfortunately, there is no cure for presbyopia, but there are several treatments available to correct vision. Depending on the condition and lifestyle, you may be able to choose between corrective lenses, contact lenses, or surgery to correct vision.

Glasses without prescription

If you didn’t need glasses before you had presbyopia, you may be able to use non-prescription reading glasses. These are usually available in retail stores, such as pharmacies or drugstores. They generally work best for reading or working closely.

When choosing an over-the-counter reading pair, try different degrees of magnification. Choose the lowest magnification that allows you to comfortably read a newspaper without straining your vision.

Prescription glasses

You will need prescription glasses for presbyopia if you cannot find a suitable increase in over-the-counter options. You will also need a prescription if you already have glasses to correct another eye problem. There are several variations of prescription glasses, such as wearing prescription reading glasses if you have no eye problems other than presbyopia and prefer not to buy others.

Bifocals are also a good option, as they have two different types of focus, with a noticeable line between them. The top is set for distance, while the bottom is set for reading or close work. Instead, trifocals have three different focus points. The portions are configured for close-up, mid-range, and far-vision work, and can be done with or without visible lines.

Progressive lenses are similar to bifocals. However, they do not have a visible line and offer a more gradual transition between the near and distant parts of the prescription.


There are several surgical options to treat presbyopia. For example, conductive keratoplasty involves the use of radio frequency energy to change the curvature of the cornea. Although effective, the correction may decrease over time for some people. Furthermore, laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis can be used to create monovision. This setting corrects one eye for near vision and the other eye for distance.

The exchange of refractive glasses involves the extraction of your natural lens. It is replaced by a synthetic one, called an intraocular lens implant, inside your eye.

Tips to prevent presbyopia

There is no proven technique to prevent this vision problem. The gradual decrease in the ability to focus on close objects affects everyone. You can help protect your vision with these steps:

  • Get regular eye exams.
  • Manage chronic health conditions that could contribute to vision loss, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
  • Wear sunglasses.
  • Wear protective glasses when participating in activities that could lead to eye injury.
  • Eat a healthy diet with foods that contain antioxidants, vitamin A, and beta-carotene.
  • Make sure to wear glasses of adequate power.
  • Use good lighting when reading.

Talk to a doctor or eye specialist about any changes in your vision or eye health. Many diseases and conditions of the eye can be stopped in time before an intervention and have an early treatment.