Myths & Facts About Presbyopia

Reviewed by: Selene A. Burke, OD

Vision Tips & Prevention Vision Tips & Prevention

Have you started to hold your phone further from your face when checking text messages? Do you find yourself putting down a book before you want to because your eyes feel strained? If you have a hobby or job that involves close-up work, are you adding brighter lights to your workplace in an effort to see more clearly? If these ring true and you are in your late 30’s or older, the reason may be presbyopia, which is the most common change that occurs in adult eyes and may affect over 30% of adults over the age of 40. Trusetd Source Checkbox Trusted Source Prevalence of Presbyopia and Spectacle Correction Coverage in a Rural Population of North West Nigeria Clinical Ophthalmology Go to Source 1

What is Presbyopia?

Presbyopia is age-related near vision loss that occurs when the elasticity of the eye’s natural lens begins to stiffen and increase in size, making it difficult to focus up close. This is why, beginning the their late 30’s to early 40’s, many people hold menus far from their face or use reading glasses when looking at their phones. It is natural to feel confused when vision begins to change. But have no fear, we are going to help clear up the misconceptions around presbyopia!

Presbyopia Myth #1 I’ll never need reading glasses because I have 20/20 vision.

Fact: Presbyopia is a natural side effect of aging and will eventually happen to everybody! Studies estimate that as many as 1.8 billion people live with presbyopia Trusetd Source Checkbox Trusted Source Global Prevalence of Presbyopia and Vision Impairment from Uncorrected Presbyopia: Systematic Review, Meta-analysis, and Modelling Ophthalmology Go to Source 2 . Even those who have had LASIK in the past are still likely to develop presbyopia as time goes by.

Presbyopia Myth #2 Farsightedness and presbyopia are basically the same.

Fact: Though both conditions result in a difficulty seeing up close, the two are quite different. Farsightedness, or hyperopia, is a vision problem that exists due to the shape of the eyeball; someone with hyperopia has a shorter than normal eyeball. Whereas presbyopia is a natural condition that develops with age. It is the loss of flexibility and increase in the size of the lens which makes it more difficult to see up close.

Presbyopia Myth #3 Getting LASIK surgery will cure my presbyopia.

Fact: While LASIK can be a great vision correction option for many people with astigmatism, nearsightedness, and farsightedness, it is not as effective to correct presbyopia. Monovision LASIK, in which an excimer laser to correct one eye for near vision and the other eye for distance vision, is sometimes recommended to treat presbyopia, but it is not an option for everyone.

Presbyopia Myth #4 Presbyopia is preventable.

Fact: Presbyopia is not a disease and is not preventable. It is a naturally occurring change and it cannot be prevented with eye exercises or supplements. Presbyopia does not happen because you didn’t eat enough carrots or because you read in low light. According to the National Eye Institute, anyone over the age of 35 is at risk of developing presbyopia. Trusetd Source Checkbox Trusted Source Presbyopia Fact Sheet National Eye Institute Go to Source 3

Trusetd Source Checkbox  Sources


1 Umar MM, Muhammad N, Alhassan MB, Prevelance of Presbyopia and Spectacle Correction Coverage in a Rural Population of North West Nigeria. Clinical Ophthalmology. 2015:9 1195-1201
2 Fricke TR, Tahhan N, Resnikoff S, Papas E, Burnett A, Ho SM, et al. Global Prevalence of Presbyopia and Vision Impairment from Uncorrected Presbyopia: Systematic Review, Meta-analysis, and Modelling. Ophthalmology. 2018 Oct;125(10):1492-1499. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2018.04.013.
3 National Eye Institute. Presbyopia Fact Sheet. https://nei.nih.gov/sites/default/files/health-pdfs/Presbyopia.pdf Accessed July 31, 2019.

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