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Presbyopia is the loss of the ability to focus on nearby objects, such as your book or phone.

What causes presbyopia?

Presbyopia is a condition that develops as part of the eye’s natural ageing process. At around age 40, the lenses in our eyes thicken, while the surrounding muscles weaken. As a result, the lenses are less flexible than when we were younger – they can no longer easily change shape.

What are the symptoms of presbyopia?

The symptoms of presbyopia start appearing for most people around the age of 40.

They include:

  • needing to hold objects like your book and phone further away to see clearer
  • difficulty reading small text
  • headaches or fatigue from doing close-up work for extended periods.

How is presbyopia diagnosed?

Presbyopia can be diagnosed with a dilated eye exam. Using drops, your pupils are dilated and then examined for any damage.

At Hobart Eye Surgeons, we recommend a general eye exam once every 2 years for those over 45 years old.

What are the risk factors of presbyopia?

The most significant risk factor of presbyopia is age, as anyone over 35 years old has a risk of developing it. Presbyopia, more or less, affects everyone, but some people will notice its symptoms more than others.

People who experience the symptoms earlier than expected have premature presbyopia, which can alert them to another underlying condition.

The risk factors of premature presbyopia include:

  • hyperopia, which is difficulty seeing close-up objects while objects in the distance are seen clearly
  • medical conditions such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis or cardiovascular disease.

How do I prevent the onset of presbyopia?

As we age, we will all develop presbyopia, even without a history of eye conditions.

You can help protect your vision by:

  • committing to regular eye exams
  • eating a healthy, nutritious diet
  • wearing glasses of the correct prescription and sunglasses with UV protection
  • reduce eyestrain by ensuring you have good lighting when reading and working.

What are the long-term implications of presbyopia?

There are several long-term implications of presbyopia, including:

  • reduced quality of life as untreated presbyopia affects daily activities like reading
  • eyestrain and headaches from squinting.

What are the treatment options for presbyopia?

Presbyopia can be corrected with the below procedures.

LASIK involves creating a paper-thin flap on the cornea, under which the cornea is reshaped before the flap is repositioned. Similar to traditional LASIK, Femto-LASIK uses a second laser to create the thin flap on the cornea, resulting in higher safety and precision. Femto-LASIK is the procedure of choice for most of our patients.

Streamlight® PRK
PRK (Photorefractive keratectomy) was the first excimer laser visual correction of the cornea. Now reinvented with the no-touch Streamlight®, this technique involves applying the laser beam directly to the cornea’s surface. PRK may be more uncomfortable and does have a longer recovery time than LASIK, but provides excellent visual outcomes. PRK can be best for some, as it results in less thinning of the cornea.

Refractive Lensectomy
In a procedure similar to cataract surgery, the inactive presbyopic lens of the eye is removed, replacing it with an intraocular lens (IOL). The IOL is thin, transparent, tiny and soft, so it can be folded up and inserted into your eye through a small incision. Modern IOL choice can restore excellent distance vision and also help with daily near tasks without the use of additional glasses.

Cataract surgery
Cataract surgery removes a clouded lens from your eye, replacing it with an IOL. As above, the IOL is so tiny and soft that it can be folded up and inserted into your eye through a small incision. Modern IOL choice can restore excellent distance vision and also help with daily near tasks without the use of additional glasses.

At Hobart Eye Surgeons, we carefully assess your circumstances and eye condition and will recommend the treatment that best suits you.

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