Presbyopia Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment – Eye Love Cares

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Presbyopia is a relatively common condition that affects nearsighted vision and is age related, in most cases. Throughout this blog we’ll cover the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for presbyopia.

Originating from the Greek work meaning “old eye,” presbyopia is a normal part of aging. If your nearsighted vision is gradually becoming less and less clear you may be suffering from presbyopia. Commonly, presbyopia can start surfacing following age 40.

Presbyopia can occur in people who have and have not had pre-existing vision problems. A significant number of people in the United States suffer from presbyopia. This number is expected to increase. Developing presbyopia can be a reality check that we’re aging but it’s a perfectly normal aging effect on the eyes.

Related: Photophobia

What Is Presbyopia?

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As we briefly explained above, presbyopia is the gradual loss of near vision or the eyes’ ability to focus on close surrounding objects. In most cases, presbyopia becomes noticeable sometime during your early 40’s and can continue to worsen until about age 65.

If you’re beginning to have trouble reading text messages, newspapers, or books, you might have presbyopia. It’s a normal part of aging, but you can correct the condition, so stay calm and keep reading!

What Are Signs and Symptoms Associated with Presbyopia?

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Are you having trouble reading newspapers, magazines, books, text messages, and more? Are you around age 40 or older? If so, these can be some of the most common signs of presbyopia. In addition, you might be experiencing eye strain or headaches during or after doing up close work or reading. Typically, if you have presbyopia, your symptoms will continue to gradually worsen over time.

Common symptoms of presbyopia may include:

  • Squinting to see up close print
  • Difficulty seeing or reading small print
  • Fatigue following up close work or reading
  • Needing brighter lighting for up close work or reading
  • Trouble focusing on up close print, causing you to hold it at an arm’s length distance

Overall, if you’re experiencing difficulty focusing or seeing near objects clearly, this can be a sign of presbyopia. Hyperopia is a farsightedness condition that can be confused with presbyopia. Both conditions can cause up close print or objects to appear unclear or blurry. However, distant objects usually remain clear with both conditions.

What’s Causing Presbyopia?

The natural, clear lens is located inside the eye and behind the colored iris. The clear lens can become more rigid and have difficulty changing shape, especially among people 40 years of age and older. The side effect of this can be difficulty performing close up tasks and seeing clearly. A clear lens that functions properly should help you see by changing shape easily in order to focus light onto the retina.

As people age the clear lens can go from soft and flexible, allowing it to change shape easily, to more rigid and thicker, causing presbyopia.

Presbyopia differs from conditions such as astigmatism, farsightedness, and nearsightedness. These conditions are also related to differing eyeball shapes but are often primarily caused by environmental and genetic factors.

Aging is an irreversible and normal process. Correcting presbyopia can be possible by using eyeglasses or contact lenses. In some cases, surgery may be necessary. However, if presbyopia is not corrected you may experience eye strain, headaches, and more.

Related: Blepharoplasty

Is there a Presbyopia Cure?

Although presbyopia is a common condition there’s currently no existing cure. Luckily, there are many treatments that can help correct your vision. Some of the most common treatments include contact lenses, corrective lenses, eyeglasses, or surgery.

Let’s take a closer look at some treatments for correcting presbyopic vision.

1. Prescription Lenses can help correct vision affected by presbyopia.

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In some cases nonprescription lenses can help correct vision. However, if you’re unable to find the right nonprescription lenses you may need prescription lenses. In cases where there is another eye problem present or you already have lenses you’ll most likely need prescription lenses if presbyopia is present.

The good news is you have some options of prescription lenses to choose from including…

  • Prescription reading glasses. If presbyopia is the only eye condition you’re suffering from, prescription eyeglasses can be used for treatment. In addition, if you prefer to receive a prescription from a medical professional rather than select glasses off the shelf you should use prescription reading glasses.
  • Bifocals. Bifocals offer two different settings depending on the focus you need. Usually the upper part is designed for distance and the lower part is designed for up close reading or work. The line between the upper and lower portion is visible.
  • Bifocal contact lenses. These can be an alternative to bifocals if you prefer contact lenses rather than glasses.
  • Progressive lenses. Similar to bifocals, progressive lenses can help distant and up-close vision. Progressive lenses differ from bifocals because they don’t have a visible line and their transition between settings is usually more gradual.
  • Trifocals. Trifocals offer an additional point of focus compared to bifocals. Hints to the prefix “tri.” Close up reading or work, mid-range, and distance vision are usually the three settings of trifocals. Visible lines are present with trifocals.
  • Monovision contact lenses. These lenses enforce that you wear a different set of lenses in each eye. Typically one eye wears a lens set for close up vision and the other eye lens is set for distant vision.
  • Modified monovision contact lenses. These lenses are slightly more advanced than regular monovision contact lenses. In most cases one eye is required to wear a lens for distance and the other eye wears a bifocal contact lens.
  • Surgery. Conductive keratoplasty, laser assisted in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK), and refractive lens exchange are some types of surgery that can help treat presbyopia.

Can You Develop Presbyopia If You’re Younger Than Age 40?

Premature presbyopia can develop in some people. In most cases, the symptoms of presbyopia and premature presbyopia mirror one another.

So what causes premature presbyopia? Premature presbyopia can be caused by certain diseases or drugs. Most medical professionals consider it premature presbyopia if the patient is younger than 40. In addition, if you’re younger than 40 and showing symptoms of presbyopia you should see a doctor. Premature presbyopia can be a sign of an underlying preexisting condition. Some preexisting conditions can cause you to be at a higher risk for developing presbyopia.  

How Can You Prevent Presbyopia?

Although there is no secret answer for preventing presbyopia there are ways to prevent it or diagnose it sooner than later. Nearly everyone is affected at some point by the gradual loss of ability to focus and see close up objects clearly.

Proactive steps you can take to protect your vision include:

  • Get regular eye exams. Taking care of your body and your eyes is important. You should be getting regular, yearly eye exams to help keep ensure healthy eyes.
  • Get chronic health conditions under control. Preexisting health conditions can contribute to the development of presbyopia. In the section below we will cover more detail on some of these preexisting conditions.
  • Wear sunglasses. The sun can be harmful to your eyes. Wearing sunglasses can provide some added protection to keep your eyes safer. Click here to purchase a pair of polarized sunglasses.
  • Protective eyeglasses. If you’re participating in activities that present potential harm to the eyes, such as sports or a construction job, you should wear protective eyeglasses.
  • Healthy diet. Maintaining your overall health can help prevent a variety of health conditions including presbyopia. You should make sure your diet includes the right balance of antioxidants, beta carotene, and vitamin A. Click here to check out the Heyedrate Lutein and Zeaxanthin for eye health.
  • Wear proper strength eyeglasses. Wearing glasses that are too strong or not strong enough can cause strain on your eyes.
  • Use adequate lighting when reading or working to reduce strain on your eyes.

Can Preexisting Conditions Increase My Risk Of Developing Premature Presbyopia?

Yes, preexisting conditions can increase the risk of developing premature presbyopia. For more insight about premature presbyopia check out the section above.

Preexisting conditions that can increase your risk of developing presbyopia include:

#1. Anemia

Anemia is a condition that can occur if an individual does not have enough normal red blood cells. The deficit of blood cells means the cells cannot carry enough oxygen to the body’s tissues. This can leave you feeling exhausted and brittle.

So, what causes anemia?

There are many different causes associated with anemia that can cause various forms of anemia. Its severity can range from mild to severe and it can be a temporary or long lasting condition.

What are symptoms of anemia?

The cause of your anemia can alter the signs and symptoms you experience. Note that anemia often goes unnoticed because signs are ignored. You should pay attention to your body and see a doctor if you notice anything unusual. However, some symptoms may include…

  • Fatigue, dizziness, lightheadedness, and headaches
  • Loss of skin color (pale or yellow)
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Weakness
  • Breath shortness
  • Pain in the chest
  • Chilly hands and feet

Can anemia be treated?

Treatment for anemia is available in most cases. Some cases might require simply taking supplements for treatment. While other cases might require undergoing medical procedures. The good news is there are some preventative actions that can help prevent anemia. Eating a healthy and dynamic diet can help prevent some types of anemia.

If you think you’re suffering from anemia it’s strongly encouraged to see your doctor. Anemia can be a symptom for a more serious condition or illness.

#2. Cardiovascular Disease

Its name, cardiovascular disease, does an efficient job defining its meaning. Diseases affecting the blood vessels or heart can be classified under cardiovascular disease (CVD).  Heart disease and cardiovascular disease are often used interchangeably but can be understood slightly differently. If a condition is affecting a heart’s muscle, rhythm or valves, it is classified as a form of heart disease. Some conditions cardiovascular disease may lead to include the following:

  • Blocked or narrowed blood vessels
  • Heart attacks
  • Chest pain
  • Strokes

What causes cardiovascular disease?

The cause of cardiovascular disease can vary from heart defects you’re born with to defects developed from a lack of self-care. The umbrella of cardiovascular disease covers a wide variety of heart diseases. These diseases can include blood vessel disease such as arrhythmias, congenital heart defects, and coronary artery disease.

Living a healthier lifestyle on a daily basis can help prevent heart disease or cardiovascular disease from developing. In addition, regular check ups at the doctor’s office can help discover cardiovascular diseases earlier.

What are symptoms of cardiovascular or heart disease?

Symptoms of cardiovascular disease in men and women may vary. Some symptoms both men and women experience include:

  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Chest tightness or pressure
  • Numb, weak or cold feeling in arms or legs (typically occurs when vessels throughout those body parts are narrowed)
  • Pain (jaw, throat, neck, chest, upper abdomen, back, and more)

Can cardiovascular disease be treated?

Cardiovascular disease can be fatal in some cases. The heart is a necessary organ for humans to survive. You should return the love your heart gives you, your loved ones, and the world around you by communicating health concerns with your doctor regularly.

The sooner cardiovascular disease is diagnosed, the better the outcome for your health. In addition, knowing your family’s health history can help you determine your risk for developing cardiovascular disease.

If you have shortness of breath, chest pain, fainting, or any symptoms listed above you should visit your doctor.

#3. Diabetes

The way your body uses blood sugar or glucose can be affected by a group of diseases. This group of diseases or difficulty metabolizing blood sugar can be referred to as diabetes mellitus. Glucose provides an important source of energy for the cells that compose your muscle and tissues. Your brain also uses glucose as its main source of fuel.  

What causes diabetes?

The cause of diabetes can vary depending on the type. However, all types of diabetes can result in excess sugar in your blood. This can lead to serious health problems.

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

Symptoms associated with diabetes can vary depending on the type of diabetes and how much your blood sugar is elevated. In some cases, diabetes symptoms can be non-existent initially. This is usually more common with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes symptoms are usually faster approaching and more severe. Type 1 diabetes often begins in childhood (although not always) while Type 2 diabetes usually occurs later in life due to poor lifestyle choices.

Type 1 and 2 diabetes symptoms and signs for all ages can include:

  • Excessive hunger
  • Increased thirst
  • More frequent urination
  • Weight loss without an explanation
  • Ketones present in urine
  • Blurry or unclear vision
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Slow-healing sores
  • Infections such as those of the skin, vaginal area, or gums that occur frequently

Can diabetes be treated?

Treatment is available for diabetes. Regular medical attention will most likely be needed indefinitely. However, medical attention is especially important until blood sugars stabilize. If you suspect you have diabetes, you should contact your doctor as soon as possible.

#4. Hyperopia (also known as farsightedness)

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Similar to presbyopia, farsightedness can make close up objects or print appear blurry. Distant objects remain clear in most cases. Presbyopia and farsightedness are both relatively common conditions.

What causes farsightedness?

Understanding what causes farsightedness can help you differentiate it from presbyopia. While presbyopia is usually developed around or after age 40, farsightedness is present at birth or is genetic in most cases. Many people may become more farsighted as they age.

What are the symptoms of farsightedness?

Symptoms that can occur with farsightedness include:

  • Close up objects appear blurry
  • Need to squint to see close up objects
  • Eyestrain
  • Burning or aching sensation around the eyes
  • Discomfort of the eyes or headaches after extended reading, writing, or computer work

Getting treatment for farsightedness can improve your comfort and help you be more productive. You should see your doctor if you’re having difficulty seeing close up.

Can farsightedness be treated?

The good news about farsightedness is that it can be easily treated in most cases. Eyeglasses and contact lenses are two of the most common treatments for farsightedness. Surgery can be another potentially effective treatment.

#5. Multiple Sclerosis

The body uses a protective sheath known as myelin to shield nerve fibers. When the immune system attacks the myelin this can cause multiple sclerosis (MS). Your brain and the rest of your body can experience communication problems due to the attack. MS can be understood as a disease of the brain and spinal cord, or central nervous system, that can be potentially disabling. Over time, those suffering from MS can experience deteriorated or permanently damaged nerves.

What causes multiple sclerosis?

Unfortunately, the cause of multiple sclerosis remains unknown, but it’s classified as an autoimmune disease. This means that the body’s tissues are attacked by its own immune system. Additional risk factors can increase the risk of developing MS. Some of these risk factors include age, sex, race, climate, family history, and more.

What are the symptoms of multiple sclerosis?

Each case and individual suffering from MS can have varying signs and symptoms. In addition, signs and symptoms can vary depending on the affected location of nerve fibers. Signs and symptoms of MS can also change throughout the course of the disease.

Some signs and symptoms of MS include:

  • Prolonged double vision
  • Pain or tingling sensation in parts of the body
  • Fatigue
  • Slurred speech
  • Weakness or numbness in 1+ limbs (usually takes place on one side of the body at a time)
  • Loss of vision, complete or partial (usually takes place in one eye at a time)
  • Dizziness
  • Improper functioning of the bowel and bladder

Can multiple sclerosis be treated?

Similar to the cause of MS, the cure for MS still remains unknown as well. However, if you think you have MS you should see a doctor as soon as possible. Some treatments are available to help patients expedite recovery from attacks and manage and modify the disease and its course.

#6. Myasthenia Gravis

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Myasthenia gravis is a chronic disease that can cause muscles to fatigue and become weak after doing regular activities. For example, if your jaw muscles become weak during dinner and hinder your ability to chew food, you might have myasthenia gravis.

What causes myasthenia gravis?

Normally your muscles and nerves communicate but when there is a breakdown in the communication it can cause myasthenia gravis.

What are the symptoms of myasthenia gravis?

When the affected muscle is used repeatedly, myasthenia gravis can cause the muscle weakness to worsen. Signs and symptoms may come and go. If you have myasthenia gravis, getting plenty of sleep and living a healthier lifestyle can help you feel better.

A few years after developing the disease symptoms typically peak. Some of the first symptoms of myasthenia gravis can include:

  • Eye problems such as drooping in one or both eyes
  • Double vision (can improve or disappear when one eye is closed)
  • Soft, nasally, or altered speaking
  • Difficulty swallowing or liquid exiting through the nose
  • Chewing problems
  • Few facial expressions if muscles that control them are affected
  • Weakness in neck, arms, and legs

Can myasthenia gravis be treated?

Myasthenia gravis cannot be cured at this time but treatments are available that can help alleviate symptoms. If you suspect you have myasthenia gravis you should see your doctor as soon as possible.

#7. Poor Blood Flow (Vascular Insufficiency)

Poor blood flow or circulation is not classified as a condition itself, but it is a result of other health conditions. Blood, nutrients, and oxygen need to be properly circulated throughout the body by the circulatory system. When blood flow is reduced to certain areas of the body, poor blood flow can surface.

What causes poor blood flow?

Poor blood flow or circulation can be caused by many different conditions, including:

  • Peripheral artery disease. Typically causes poor blood flow in the legs.
  • Blood clots. While blood clots can develop throughout the entire body, blood clots of the arms or legs usually lead to poor blood flow or circulation problems.
  • Varicose veins. This is a rather rare condition where valve failure can cause enlarged veins. Blood cannot be moved as efficiently as normal through enlarged veins leading to poor blood flow.
  • Diabetes. Diabetes can affect your blood sugar as well as circulation to certain areas of the body.
  • Obesity. Lugging around extra body weight can lead to a variety of health issues including poor blood flow. In addition, obesity can fuel other causes of poor blood flow such as varicose veins and blood vessel problems.
  • Raynaud’s disease. Small arteries in your hands and toes can narrow if you have Raynaud’s disease.  Symptoms of poor blood flow can surface due to the narrowed arteries.

What are the symptoms of poor blood flow?

Individuals can develop unique symptoms depending on what condition is causing poor blood flow. Poor circulation or blood flow can be associated with symptoms such as:

  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Pain
  • Muscle cramps
  • Sharp stinging pain or throbbing in your limbs

Can poor blood flow be treated?

As we mentioned above poor blood flow is not technically its own condition. Poor blood flow is typically caused by other health conditions. In order to treat poor blood flow the underlying cause needs to be diagnosed and treated.

#8. Eye Trauma

A direct blow to the eye can cause damage that leads to eye trauma. In addition to the eyes being affected, surrounding areas of the eye can also be affected. This can include bone structure and adjacent tissue. Eye trauma such as this can have an affect on early presbyopia.

What causes eye trauma?

Blunt force to the eye can cause it to compress and retract suddenly. Underneath the impacted area, blood can collect and result in common symptoms of eye trauma.

What are the symptoms of eye trauma?

Eye trauma symptoms tend to include:

  • Pain
  • Difficulty seeing
  • One eye not moving as well as the other eye
  • One eye projecting out
  • Cuts to the eyelid
  • Blood on the white or clear part of the eye
  • Something embedded in the eye
  • Something under the eyelid that is difficult to remove

Can eye trauma be treated?

Eyes are so important and valuable! Therefore, any type of injury to the eye deserves medical attention. In the meantime, you should avoid touching the eye or removing objects trapped in the eye. In addition, other types of eye trauma, disease, or conditions can cause presbyopia.

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