Presbyopia correction

Reading glasses are a very common and easy way to correct presbyopia symptoms, and are typically worn just during close work such as reading, sewing, etc. These “readers” are easily purchased at drug stores and other retail stores. You can also choose higher-quality versions prescribed by your eye doctor. If you decide to pick out a pair of reading glasses from the store, it is important that you select the weakest pair that will allow you to read newspaper-size print without difficulty.

If you wear contact lenses, your eye doctor can prescribe reading glasses that can be worn with your regular contacts to help you adjust to detailed, close-up work.

Man with glassesEyeglasses with bifocal or progressive lenses are another common method of correcting presbyopia. Bifocal lenses have two different points of focus. The upper part of the eyeglass lens is set for distance vision, while the lower portion of the lens has a prescription set for seeing close work. Progressive lenses are similar to bifocal lenses, but they offer a more gradual visual transition between the two prescriptions, with no visible line between them.

Another option for correcting presbyopic vision is multifocal contact lenses. Just as bifocal lenses have two levels of corrective power, multifocal contact lenses create multiple levels of corrective power.

Another way to correct presbyopia with contact lenses is monovision, in which one eye has a contact set for distance, and the other has a contact set for near vision. The brain learns to adapt to using one eye or the other for different tasks.

Because the eye’s lens continually changes with age, you will need to have your prescription increased over time as well. Your eye doctor can prescribe a stronger prescription as needed to help you with up-close vision.

Presbyopia surgery

There are surgical options to treat presbyopia. One is called conductive keratoplasty or CK. With this procedure, radio waves are used to create more curvature in the cornea and improve near vision. CK can treat presbyopia effectively, but the correction is temporary and diminishes over time.

LASIK can be used to create monovision, in which one eye is corrected for near vision while the other eye is set for distance vision. Another LASIK procedure — which is undergoing clinical trials in the U.S. — is presbyLASIK. This procedure uses an excimer laser to sculpt multifocal zones directly on the cornea, enabling vision at multiple distances.

Also, there is a procedure known as refractive lens exchange. This refractive surgery technique replaces your eye's rigid natural lens with an artificial lens that corrects presbyopia symptoms, providing multifocal vision.

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Reviewed by Dr. Devin Harrison on Sept. 1, 2013

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