Why let bifocal eyeglasses reveal your age? GP bifocal contact lenses provide great near and distance vision, and help you look your best.
Presbyopia is an age-related condition that causes blurred near vision. It typically starts at around age 40 and affects everyone, even those who've never had vision problems before.
When presbyopia begins, people will squint or hold reading materials at arm's length to help their eyes focus. Eye strain, headache and fatigue are common symptoms of presbyopia.
Most experts believe presbyopia is caused by changes to the lens inside the eye. As people age, the lens becomes harder and less elastic, making it more difficult for the eye to focus on close objects.
For centuries presbyopia was corrected with the use of bifocal eyeglasses. Today there are many ways to correct presbyopia with eyeglasses, contact lenses and surgery.
Contact Lenses for Presbyopia
People in the early stages of presbyopia, called emerging presbyopes, are often unpleasantly surprised by the new difficulty in seeing up close, especially if they've never had vision problems before. In addition, many are unhappy about the idea of wearing bifocal glasses.
Fortunately, bifocal contact lenses are now available in many soft and GP lens designs. Similar to bifocal eyeglasses, bifocal contacts have two prescriptive powers for distance and near vision. Multifocal contact lenses are also available with additional variations in power to correct near, intermediate, and far vision.
Monovision is another contact lens option for correcting presbyopia, where one eye wears a near vision lens, and the other eye wears a distance vision lens. Your eyes automatically focus properly depending on the visual situation.
Contact lenses wearers can also use a distance lens in both eyes, and then wear reading glasses for close-up work.
Watch this video about Denise Hall, who wears GP multifocal contacts because her soft multifocal lenses didn't provide the sharp vision she wanted, and she doesn't like wearing glasses.
Eyeglasses for Presbyopia
Bifocal eyeglasses have a distance vision prescription at the top of the lens and a near vision prescription at the lower part of the lens.
Progressive eyeglass lenses provide that as well, plus a smooth progression of power between the two for viewing intermediate distances.
If you've never worn glasses or contacts and then develop presbyopia, you can use bifocals without prescriptive power in the top of the lens. Reading glasses are an option as well.
Monovision, as described above, can be accomplished with LASIK as well as contact lenses. A procedure called conductive keratoplasty, or CK, which uses radio waves to change the surface of the cornea, can also induce monovision, but the effect is not long-lasting. A number of other surgical corrections for presbyopia are currently undergoing clinical trials for FDA approval.
No matter which option you choose, presbyopia does progress over time, and your contact lens prescription or eyeglass prescription may increase to keep up with it. Regular eye exams will ensure that your prescription is always up to date and providing you with the best vision possible.
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[Page updated February 2013]