The decline of close-up vision from presbyopia starts to affect nearly everyone in their 40s, even if they’ve never had vision problems.
As part of the aging process, your eyes’ lenses harden and lose flexibility to focus on close-up objects, causing the objects to appear blurry. This often causes people over age 40 to hold reading material farther away to see it clearly. Scientists believe this to be a natural part of aging that cannot be prevented.
Your eyes will likely continue to lose their ability to focus on close-up objects until you reach your early 60s, requiring prescription changes for your glasses and contact lenses.
Being Diagnosed With Presbyopia
Presbyopia can be diagnosed during a basic eye exam by your eye care professional.
During the exam, your eye care professional will inspect the inside of your eye using a magnifying instrument called an ophthalmoscope. Your eye care professional may use eye drops to dilate your pupils to make it easier to see the back of the eye. You may also take a vision test that measures your distance and up-close vision.
The first signs of presbyopia usually appear in the early to mid-40s. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends you have a baseline eye disease screening at age 40, even if you don’t have vision problems or known risk factors. Your eye care professional will recommend follow-up exams based on the results and your family history.
Unfortunately, presbyopia occurs naturally as you age. Because there is no known way to prevent presbyopia, it affects almost everyone, even if you’ve never had vision problems.
However, there are ways to help protect your eyes and vision, including:
- Having your vision checked regularly.
- Wearing sunglasses or a hat when you’re outdoors.
- Close monitoring of your eyes’ health if you have a medical condition that can increase your risk of cataracts, such as diabetes or hypothyroidism.
- Wearing protective eyewear when active to avoid eye trauma.
- Eating healthier to ensure you’re getting plenty of vitamins and antioxidants. Evidence has shown that certain nutrients found in foods like fruits, vegetables and fish can help slow the aging process of the eye.
- Recognizing symptoms such as headaches, blurred vision and eye strain.