Just Had Your 40th Birthday? Say Hello to the Gift of Presbyopia
So, you just had your 40th birthday. Hopefully you survived the Depends (or worse) jokes and the black-frosted cake shaped like a tombstone. In reality, though, you’re probably less than halfway through your life.
But there is one eye condition that begins around 40 and will make you feel older. It’s called presbyopia. While presbyopia isn’t a disease or anything, and isn’t curable, we treat it every day at Central Valley Eye Medical Group. Here’s some info about what to expect.
What is presbyopia?
Compared to that aching knee or those crow’s feet around your eyes, most people don’t think of their eyes when it comes to aging. But your eyes do age. Presbyopia is a natural consequence of this. Presbyopia is a condition where the eye loses its ability to change its focus so that you can see objects that are close up. This affects things such as reading or working on a computer. In most people, it starts to appear at the age of 40.
When you are young, the lens in your eye is soft and flexible, and it can change shape easily. This is how you focus on objects both up close and far away. After most people turn 40 the lens becomes less flexible, more rigid. It’s not like it happens overnight, but it can’t change shape as easily as it did in your younger days, so it becomes much more difficult to see things up close. You may be able to see the golf ball on the green 250 yards away, but reading the scores on the scorecard in the bar afterwards is a challenge. But you’re in good company — presbyopia affects almost everyone.
Isn’t this just farsightedness?
People confuse presbyopia with farsightedness (hyperopia), but the two are different conditions. When the lens of the eye loses flexibility with age, that is presbyopia. When the natural shape of the eyeball (the eye is either shorter than normal or has a cornea that is too flat) causes light rays to bend incorrectly when they enter the eye, that is hyperopia. The confusion comes because the results are much the same — the person has difficulty seeing things up close without correction — but the causes are very different. Farsightedness can be present at birth, while presbyopia develops after 40. Hyperopia often has genetic tendencies, while presbyopia is common throughout the population.
There is no cure for presbyopia, but it can be easily corrected. Most people simply opt for standard drugstore reading glasses, having a few pairs around the house whenever they may need to do some reading. It can also be treated with laser surgery.
Now you know what’s been happening with your vision after you hit the dreaded 40th. Is it time for your regular eye exam? Call us at Central Valley Eye Medical, 1-800-244-9907, to make your appointment.
Posted in: Eye Conditions