• What Is Presbyopia?

    Written by: Kierstan Boyd
    Reviewed by: Brenda Pagan-Duran MD
    Sep. 01, 2016

    Presbyopia is when your eyes gradually lose the ability to see things clearly up close. It is a normal part of aging. In fact, the word “presbyopia” means “old eye” in Greek. You may start to notice presbyopia shortly after age 40. You will probably find that you hold reading materials farther away in order to see them clearly.

    What causes presbyopia?

    Your clear lens sits inside the eye behind your colored iris. It changes shape to focus light onto the retina so you can see. When you are young, the lens is soft and flexible, easily changing shape. This lets you focus on objects both close-up and far away. After age 40, the lens becomes more rigid. It cannot change shape as easily. This makes it harder to read, thread a needle, or do other close-up tasks.

    There is no way to stop or reverse the normal aging process that causes presbyopia. However, presbyopia can be corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses or surgery. If you do not correct presbyopia, you may be bothered by headaches and eye strain.