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Presbyopia By Age: When Does Age-Related Farsightedness Usually Begin?

By Kevin Hwang, MD, MPH
If you start having trouble focusing on close objects after age 40, then you probably have a very common condition called presbyopia.

Presbyopia is when your eyes have trouble focusing on nearby objects. It happens when the natural lens in your eye becomes less flexible as you age. Presbyopia is a normal part of getting older, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

If you have presbyopia, you may notice that you have to hold reading materials or your phone further away to see them clearly. Your vision may be blurry and you may get headaches when reading at a close distance. 

When Does Presbyopia Onset Occur?

“Most people start noticing the symptoms of presbyopia in their early to mid-40s,” Daniel Chang, MD, a cataract and refractive surgeon with Empire Eye & Laser Center in Bakersfield, CA tells WebMD Connect to Care.  

Chang says that “there are no recognized demographic characteristics, health conditions, medications, or genetic factors that influence its age of onset,” but that you may notice the symptoms of presbyopia a bit earlier or later, depending on whether you start out nearsighted or farsighted. 

Farsightedness is when your eyeballs are too short, making it difficult for your eyes to focus on close items. According to Cleveland Clinic, if you start out farsighted, then you may experience presbyopia earlier than age 40.

Presbyopia Treatment Options

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, many people with presbyopia do well with wearing glasses. If you have no other vision problems, a pair of reading glasses may be all you need. If you already wear glasses, then bifocals, trifocals, or glasses with progressive lenses will be required. 

The academy also recommends contact lenses for presbyopia. With monovision contacts, you wear one lens to correct for far vision and another lens (in the other eye) to correct for near vision. Multifocal contact lenses have zones or rings set at different strengths. 

For people who prefer to avoid the hassle of glasses or contacts, another treatment option for presbyopia is to have LASIK eye surgery. During LASIK, an eye surgeon will use a laser to reshape the outer layer of your eyes. LASIK is an outpatient procedure that takes between 10 to 15 minutes to perform for each eye. It may or may not be covered by insurance. 

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