Presbyopia – or farsightedness – is an age-related vision problem that affects the ability to quickly focus on any objects up close. To understand what this means, it’s important to know how the eyes work.
Light enters the eye through the cornea and passes through the pupil. The colored portion of your eye – or the iris – opens and closes the pupil to allow in the appropriate amount of light. This light is filtered through the lens. The lens will then change shape to bend the rays of light onto the retina – this is located at the back of the eye. This is how we see and focus on images.
With aging, the lens has a harder time bending and changing shape because it becomes weak. This slower motion results in an inability to focus on objects up close. Images then may appear blurry.
You may find you have to start standing further back from objects, or holding them further from your line of vision. This may be annoying, but it can easily be fixed with corrective lenses – or in extreme cases, surgery.
There are numerous ways to treat presbyopia – some of the common ones are listed below.
Contacts: Contact lenses to treat presbyopia include multifocal contact lenses or monovision. Your eye doctor will perform an eye exam to uncover your prescription. Because your prescription can change over time, you may need to switch your contact lenses to adjust to these changes.
Surgery: Surgical options like conductive keroplasty and laser eye surgery can be effective at correcting presbyopia. These procedures may not be permanent though, as you continue aging and your vision changes. On the other hand, in some cases, the effect of the surgery can last for quite some time.
Eyeglasses: Similar to contact lenses, eyeglasses use your current prescription for the lens and are worn to help correct presbyopia.
Natural remedies can work to improve eyesight, too. These include:
Eye exercises: There are easy eye exercises that can help fight against presbyopia.
One technique involves crossing your eyes and focusing on the tip of your nose. Focus on the tip of your nose, turn your gaze to a faraway object, and then return your focus back to the tip of your nose. Keep the narrow focus as long as it takes you to inhale a breath and switch to the further object when your exhale.
Another helpful eye exercise is to hold written text about three inches away from your eyes. Hold the text upside down and gaze around each letter in each word.
Diet: Food can be a powerful source of eye-friendly nutrients. Enjoying a diet rich in eye nutrients can help boost eye health and deter the effects of presbyopia. They don’t tell you to eat your carrots for no reason.
Regular eye exams: You’ll never know how bad or good your vision is until you get your eyes checked out. Just like your annual physical, you should always remember to schedule regular eye exams to track the progress of your vision. This also allows you to keep your prescription up-to-date so you don’t have to regress to headaches and squinting again.
Rest: Just like how your body gets tired, your eyes get tired, too. Allowing your eyes to rest is essential for good eyesight. If you work in front of a computer all day, close your eyes for a few short moments, then open and re-focus. Another helpful tip is to move your gaze. Switch between something close up and something far in the distance – similar to the recommended eye exercises. Lastly, blinking is the number one way to rest your eyes, even for a split second. Blinking adds lubrication and keeps eyes moist.
Proper sleep: Also related to eye rest is getting a good night’s sleep. How you sleep can affect your eyesight as well. If you’re tossing, turning, and staring at the ceiling all night, your eyes can grow tired and become quite irritated. Lack of sleep can also hinder the ability for your eyes to focus.
Proper eye care: Avoid sticking fingers in your eyes, and if you have to rub your eyes, ensure your hands are clean. Washing your eyes or even applying warm compresses can also help. If you wear makeup, be careful of mascara wands and eyeliner pencils. They can carry bacteria, so ensure you are cleaning those products to avoid putting harmful germs into your eyes.
The only way to determine what mode of treatment will be most successful for your presbyopia is to undergo an eye exam and have your doctor see what is going on.