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Myopia Over 40: Can You Also Develop Presbyopia?

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Have you noticed your eyesight worsening when trying to read a book or a text on your phone; or perhaps you have started to struggle to read a restaurant menu? It could be a natural change known as presbyopia, and it is very common as you reach your 40s and 50s.

Is your close up vision starting to worsen?

If you already have myopia, or short-sightedness, it is likely that you wear glasses to help see far-away objects clearer. We know that when your your close-up vision starts to worsen too, it can be a little disheartening. It may be comforting to know that losing the ability to see close-up objects clearly affects nearly everyone.

Both myopia and presbyopia are known as refractive errors, and can occur when something changes with the structure of your eye. If you think you are experiencing both, you aren’t the only one going through it.

How does presbyopia happen?

Presbyopia, also known as long-sightedness or far-sightedness, is a normal part of ageing. It can happen even if you already have myopia, because presbyopia is typically caused the flexibility of the crystalline lens in the eye, while myopia is caused by the shape of your eye.

The lens itself is responsible for evenly refracting light and focusing it on to the right part of the retina. The lens can change its shape to bring objects at different distances into focus. As you get older, you might experience a decline in the lens’ ability to do this. This is known as myopia.

Presbyopia happens when the lens loses its flexibility, and the muscle around the eye becomes weaker. This means your lens isn’t able to focus as easily, and you will notice your close-up objects appear a little blurry.

Can you have both myopia and presbyopia?

Presbyopia can affect everyone, no matter the current condition of your eyesight, but it is easily managed through wearing glasses for presbyopia. You might experience signs like blurred vision or poor vision in low lit conditions.

Do you often have to hold things at a distance to see them better? Do you suffer from headaches or eye strain that make reading, or other close-up activities, less comfortable? This could indicate symptoms of presbyopia. Unfortunately, it is a separate eye condition to myopia and you can have both.

However, if you have myopia and begin to develop presbyopia, you don’t always notice it straight away. Myopia means the image of an object forms in front of the retina, but in presbyopia, the image is formed behind the retina. Both issues can compensate, and you might temporarily feel as though your vision is actually improving. Unfortunately, this is just part of the process and you will still need glasses to retain sharp vision at near and far distances.

The best way to know for sure is to visit your local optometrist. Both presbyopia and myopia can be identified easily during a routine eye examination.

How do you treat presbyopia?

Sadly, there is no way of preventing presbyopia from happening in the first place, but there are simple measures you can take to manage it.

If you already wear glasses for myopia, your optometrist may advise varifocal lenses, also known as progressive lenses. These are a very popular solution if you struggle with both myopia and presbyopia.

One of the best things about varifocal glasses is they do not display the line across the lens to separate the different vision zones, which many people often associate with being “old”. Instead, it is a gradual change in your prescription across three vision zones; near, middle and far.

Whether you have both myopia and presbyopia, or just one of these conditions, it is very straightforward to treat. At Essilor, we have a number of innovative lens solutions to correct, protect and enhance your vision. Remember to visit your optometrist regularly, just in case your vision has changed.