Presbyopia Awareness

April 1, 2022
Woman in eyeglasses writing in a notebook next to her laptop.


Do you find yourself… 

Holding materials at arm’s length, using bright lights to read, or squinting your eyes. If so, you could have presbyopia. Presbyopia is when your eyes gradually lose the ability to see things up close clearly and is a normal part of aging.  

What causes Presbyopia? 

There is a clear lens that sits inside the eye behind your colored iris. It changes shape to focus light onto the retina so you can see clearly. When you are young, the lens is flexible, soft and can easily change shape. This allows you to focus on objects far away and up close. After age 40, the lens becomes less flexible and cannot change shape as easily. Which makes it harder to read and do other close-up tasks. 

Presbyopia is a normal part of the aging process and cannot be reversed. However, it can be corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses, or surgery. People who have trouble seeing both near and far may benefit from progressive lenses. If you do not correct presbyopia, you may be bothered by headaches and eye strain. 

Ways to Cope with Presbyopia? 

Keep your Regularly Scheduled Optometry Appointments 

Only your eye doctor can tell if the lack of clarity you are experiencing is related to aging. During your eye exam, your doctor will ensure that the change in your vision is caused by presbyopia and not cataracts, diabetic eye disease or other conditions.  

Reading Glasses 

If presbyopia is your only vision problem (you do not have nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism) reading glasses may be all you need. Reading glasses help correct close up vision problems by refracting (bending) light before it enters your eye. While reading glasses can be bought without a prescription, the specific power of reading glasses that you need should be determined by your Optometrist. When you visit your eye doctor, you’ll receive a precise lens prescription that will make your near vision sharp and clear. 

Bifocals, Trifocals or Progressive Eyeglass Lenses.  

These lenses can be good choices if you already wear glasses due to myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) or astigmatism (blurred vision due to an irregularly shaped cornea). 

  • Bifocals correct for close-up and far vision. A line, which may or may not be visible, divides the lens. The bottom part of the lens refracts light to improve your close up vision. The top part refracts light to allow you to see distant objects. 
  • Trifocals have three lens areas to correct for close-up, mid-range and far vision. 
  • Progressive lenses correct vision like bifocals and trifocals but instead of having a line that divides each refractive area, refraction changes gradually from top to bottom. 

Contact Lenses.  

Bifocals, trifocals, and progressive lenses aren’t the only solutions if you have presbyopia in addition to myopia, astigmatism or hyperopia.  

  • Monovision contacts – this type of contacts, corrects one eye for distance vision and the other for close-up vision. You need to adapt to monovision lenses and train your brain to see this way. Monovision contacts may make it difficult to judge something’s speed or distance. 
  • Multifocal contacts – this type of contacts have several rings or “zones” set to different powers. With this style of contact, you are actually using both near and far vision at the same time. Your brain learns to automatically select the right focus for what you are viewing. You may find that using a multifocal lenses makes your vision less sharp than when using a monofocal lens. 


A magnifying glass can help you with doing tasks that require you to use your near vision. The use of a magnifying mirror can also make it easier to put on makeup or other grooming tasks. 

Refractive surgery.
For people who have also have myopia, hyperopia, or astigmatism, laser refractive surgery might be a consideration. If you are interested in laser vision correction, please visit the Center for Advanced Eye Care.