What is Presbyopia?

Presbyopia is an age related condition where the eye develops difficulty in focussing on close objects or reading^1^. It is a natural, gradual occurrence that affects people around the age of 40 although this can vary from person to person^1^. Presbyopia will affect eyes that are myopic (short-sighted), hyperopic (long-sighted), astigmatic or even eyes that have never had a sight prescription (refractive error) diagnosed before^1^. 


The ability for our eyes to focus automatically from distant objects to closer ones is something we take for granted when our eyes are young. This is because the crystalline lens inside the eye, which helps us focus, is flexible and can easily change shape in order to provide more power to view close objects, such as reading or threading a needle. 

As the eye gets older, gradual changes to the lens means that it loses some of its flexibility and therefore the muscles that control the lens shape are working extremely hard^1^. At a certain age, this will mean that in order to help the eye focus on near objects, additional power is required. 

In 2014, the average age of the population in the UK was 40^2^ and this figure has been steadily rising. As it is a natural occurrence, presbyopia tends to creep up on us, so it’s best to visit an optician if any symptoms are noticed. 



  1. National Eye Institute. Presbyopia. (2010) Available at: [] 
  2. Office of National Statistics; National Population Projections 2014-based Statistical Bulletin
  3. All About Vision. Presbyopia. (2016) Available at: []
  4. American Academy of Ophthalmology. Presbyopia Treatment. (2013) Available at: []


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