What Is Presbyopia?

Medically Reviewed by Whitney Seltman, OD on December 08, 2020

Sometime in your 40s, it gets harder to see close up, but you can see things far away just fine. This is called presbyopia. In spite of the big name, it isn’t a disease. It’s a natural part of the aging process. And it’s easy to correct.

Presbyopia is often confused with farsightedness, but the two are different. Presbyopia happens when the natural lens in the eye gets less flexible. Farsightedness is from a misshaped eyeball that causes light rays to focus incorrectly once they have entered the eye.

What Are the Symptoms?

You’ll notice:

  • You need to hold reading material at arm's length.
  • Blurred vision at a normal reading distance
  • Headaches or fatigue from doing close work

How Is It Diagnosed?

Your eye doctor can diagnose presbyopia with a thorough eye exam.

How Is It Treated?

There’s no cure for presbyopia. But there are a lot of ways to improve it.

Readers: Yes, those cheap glasses you see at the drugstore can often do the trick. Pick the weakest pair that lets you see what you need to read.

Bifocals work for many people. If you have glasses already, this might be the option for you. They’re eyeglasses with two different prescriptions in one lens. The top part corrects for distance vision. The lower section helps you see objects up close.

Progressive lenses are similar to bifocals, but there’s a gradual or blended transition between the two prescriptions instead of separate sections

Contact lenses can also treat presbyopia. You might try:

  • Multifocal lenses, which come in soft or gas-permeable versions.
  • Monovision lenses: One lens helps you see objects at a distance. The other is for close-up vision.

KAMRA Inlay is an FDA-approved implant. That means a doctor will surgically place it in one eye. It can work for people with presbyopia who haven’t had cataract surgery.

Other procedures are available as well. Ask your doctor what’s best for you.


Show Sources


American Academy of Ophthalmology: “Presbyopia Treatment.”

Review of Ophthalmology: “Inlays and Presbyopia: The Next Frontier.”

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved. View privacy policy and trust info