Navigating Presbyopia: Unraveling Myths and Facts

As we age, our eyes undergo various changes, and one common vision concern that emerges is presbyopia. This age-related condition affects our ability to focus on close objects, making activities like reading and using our phone more challenging. In this blog post, we’ll debunk some common myths surrounding presbyopia while focusing on the facts.

Navigating Presbyopia: Unraveling Myths and Facts

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Myth: Presbyopia Only Affects People Who Have Never Needed Glasses Before

Fact: Presbyopia is a Natural Aging Process

Contrary to the misconception that presbyopia only impacts those who’ve never worn glasses, it’s an entirely natural part of the aging process. Typically, presbyopia becomes noticeable around the age of 40 and progresses gradually. Even individuals who have had excellent vision throughout their lives may find themselves grappling with presbyopia as they enter their forties.

Myth: Reading Glasses Make Presbyopia Worse

Fact: Corrective Lenses Alleviate Presbyopia Symptoms

Some people fear that relying on reading glasses will worsen their presbyopia over time. The reality is that corrective lenses, whether in the form of reading glasses, bifocals, or progressive lenses, are precisely designed to alleviate presbyopia symptoms. These lenses adjust the focus point to the distance of your reading target, offering a practical solution for clearer near vision.

Navigating Presbyopia: Unraveling Myths and Facts

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Myth: You Can’t Wear Contact Lens If You Have Presbyopia

Fact: There are multiple contact lens designs that can help alleviate presbyopia.

If you’re a current contact lens wearer entering the world of presbyopia, have no fear, as there are ways you can still wear your contacts! Consult with your eye doctor to see if any of these options are right for you:

  • Multifocal Contact Lens: These speciality contact lenses have both distance and near prescriptions built into the lens. They can be combined with sphere prescriptions or toric (astigmatism) prescriptions.
  • Monovision Contact Lens Design: Monovision is where one eye is focused for distance (typically your dominant eye) and one eye is focused for near (typically your non-dominant. With both eyes open, your brain is able to process a single image.
  • Single Vision Distance with Reading Glasses: For those who are generally happy with their contact lenses focused for distance targets, but have sporadic cases where they have difficulty seeing at near (like spot-checking your phone or paperwork), a pair of reading glasses worn over your contacts could also be a good option.

Navigating Presbyopia: Unraveling Myths and Facts

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Myth: Only Older Adults Experience Presbyopia

Fact: Onset Can Occur in the 40s

While presbyopia is often associated with older age, symptoms typically start in the early to mid 40s. Individuals in their forties may begin to notice changes in their near vision, and it’s essential to address these symptoms promptly with the appropriate corrective measures.

Myth: Presbyopia Negates My Myopia

Fact: Presbyopia and Myopia Coexist

Another common misconception is that presbyopia negates myopia (nearsightedness). In reality, these two conditions can coexist. Individuals with myopia may experience a decline in their near vision as they age, necessitating additional corrective measures for both near and distance vision.

Navigating Presbyopia: Unraveling Myths and Facts

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Understanding the myths and facts surrounding presbyopia is crucial for maintaining eye health and seeking timely solutions. If you’re experiencing changes in your near vision or have reached an age where presbyopia is likely, consult with your eye care professional. Addressing presbyopia with the right glasses or contact lenses can significantly enhance your quality of life and keep your eyesight sharp for various activities. Remember, presbyopia is a common and manageable part of aging, and with the right approach, you can continue to enjoy clear vision at all distances.

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Catherine Ong

Dr. Catherine Ong, OD, is an optometrist based in the Bay Area, California. She earned her doctorate from UC Berkeley, School of Optometry and currently provides primary and speciality eyecare in a private practice setting. She has a passion for patient education and enjoys reshaping technical concepts into digestable topics for all patients. When she is not seeing patients, you can find her exploring new restaurants, exercising, or trying out new recipes.