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Are our eyes getting old?

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We should all have some knowledge about why we use glasses and/or contact lens, after all whenever we have any kind of visual difficulty we are often recommended to use them and sometimes we do not even understand why we do. I will now mention and explain to you what are refractive errors.{{more}}

Myopia (nearsightedness) – refractive error where the patient has difficulty seeing far objects because of increased eye size.

Hyperopia (farsightedness) – refractive error where the patient has difficulty seeing near objects because of small eye size.

Astigmatism – refractive error where the patient has difficulty seeing both near and far, with distorted images because the cornea is oval instead of round.

Presbyopia – refractive error where the patient has difficulty seeing near objects upon reaching 40-45 years of age.



Of all the above mentioned we will be dedicating our talk today to PRESBYOPIA for being the most frequent and inevitable one.

As we all know before we are born, during our first years of life and up to 20 years of age the human body is constantly developing cells, tissues, organs and systems which start to age at 40-45 years and our eyes are no exception.

The human eye normally has the capability of almost always projecting and seeing any object near or far thanks to a process called accommodation where the crystalline or lens, zonule and ciliary muscles all participate. These muscles as any other lose their elasticity and potency with age and with them, the accommodation mechanism and by so doing we are not able to focus adequately images unto our retina that are near resulting in presbyopia.

What are the symptoms of presbyopia?

When reading the newspaper we have to extend our arms and we have to keep using a brighter light

Headache

Blurred vision

Tiredness or fatigue with near vision tasks

Difficulty threading a needle

In many occasions the treatment is very simple with only the use of “reading glasses” whether half or whole lens with “add” power, or it can be accompanied by other refractive errors therefore the patient may require the use of bifocal or trifocal lens or even contact lens. I would strongly recommend a visit to your ophthalmologist or optician if you think that you need glasses and to refrain from auto-prescribing.

What do you know about glaucoma? This will be next week’s topic.

Dr Pedro A.F. Suarez

Consultant Ophthalmologist

MCMH

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