It is an inevitable part of aging. Nothing can be done to prevent presbyopia. However, people who do a lot of close visual work, such as working with a computer or intensive reading, may develop presbyopia earlier than others. If you do close work, take a 10-minute break every one to two hours to relieve strain on the eyes. Allow your eyes to focus on objects at a middle or long distance away to give your eyes a rest from close focusing. Be sure to use bright lighting when reading to help your eyes focus.
There is a 20-20-20 “Rule” suggested which you can use to help while doing near view tasks: Every 20 minutes or so look up and observe objects further than 20ft (6m) away for about 20 seconds. It is a good idea to also blink well in this “time-out” to assist the eyes’ surfaces to restore the tear film that may have begun evaporating sooner between blinks while you concentrate on your tasks.
Treatment of Presbyopia
Although there is no cure for presbyopia, there are several treatment options that work to improve patients’ near vision. These include eyeglasses, contact lenses, and several forms of refractive presbyopia treatment surgery.
Glasses are the simplest way to regain your ability to see close objects clearly. Four types of eyeglasses that can be worn to correct for presbyopia: reading, bifocal, trifocal, and progressive addition lenses.
Reading glasses, also known as half-glasses or granny glasses, are used for patients who only have problems with presbyopia. These glasses only correct near vision. If you don’t already wear corrective lenses or you wear contact lenses, you may choose to wear reading glasses only when necessary to magnify up-close objects. The strength of simple reading glasses is categorized in increments of +0.25. Glasses with +0.50 have a minimal amount of correction — only two steps. Standard lenses are available up to +6.00 (24 steps of reading correction) but typically range from +1.00 (four steps) to +2.50 (10 steps).
Your vision care professional can tell you the amount of correction is best for your eyes.
Standard inexpensive reading glasses are available in most drugstores, supermarkets, and office supply stores. They are rated on the same vision correction scale, so if you know the amount of correction you need, you can purchase the right pair for you. If you don’t know how much correction you need, test the glasses in the store by trying to read the text at a comfortable distance using different magnification strengths. The one that allows you to read most clearly in low light is the right power for you.
Standard, off-the-rack reading glasses may not be right for everyone, though. Many people need different amounts of correction in each eye and, therefore, require custom glasses. Also, custom glasses usually are made of better materials and are shaped to allow your eyes to focus properly across the full range of the lens. The distance between the centers of the pupils differs from one person to the next, being wider or narrower, or just average. The standard off-the-rack readers might have broader or narrower pupil distances than what you need.
Bifocal eyeglasses combine two points of focus: near and distance. The bottom half of the glasses is used to add the near vision correction, while the top half is used to correct the pre-existing refractive errors such as myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. If you already wear corrective lenses for nearsightedness or farsightedness, you may need either two sets of glasses — one for distance vision and one for up-close vision — or glasses with bifocal lenses, in which the upper portion of the glass corrects for distance and the lower part for near vision.
Trifocal eyeglasses are used to help the wearer with three points of focus: near, intermediate, and distance. An intermediate point of focus would be something approximately one arm’s length from the body, such as a computer monitor or the dashboard of a car.
Progressive addition lenses are another option. They change focus gradually from the upper to the lower portion of the lens. Progressive addition lenses (PALs) use a series of focus points to correct presbyopia. These lenses correct for a wide range of distances and studies have shown that they are often preferable over bifocal and trifocal eyeglasses. Your optometrist or vision care professional can measure and order the appropriate prescriptions for you.