Presbyopia occurs as the eye ages and clear lens that focusses images in our eyes begins to “stiffen.” When we are young, the lens is soft and flexible. As it becomes more rigid, we lose the ability to adjust focus while looking between distant and near images. The shift usually begins after the age of 40 and progresses until about age 65. Those who are nearsighted may begin taking their glasses off to read, while those without prescription glasses or who are farsighted will experience more eye strain and may hold reading material further away.
Presbyopia can be treated with prescription eye glasses, contact lenses and eye surgery. Progressive lenses, bifocals and multifocal contact lenses are convenient options that provide clear distance as well as near vision. If uncorrected, patients will experience eye strain, headaches, and blurred vision.
There may be a new eye drop on the market soon to delay the onset or temporarily relieve some of the side effects of presbyopia!
Pilocarpine derived drops that cause pupil constriction or “miosis” are being developed to help reduce the need for reading glasses in adults. The result is a pinhole effect, which increases the depth of focus making it easier to see and read up close. The pupil constriction is longlasting, but completely reversible, with minimal side effects typically associated with miotics due to its low potency. Some drops are in their final phases of clinical study!