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What Is Presbyopia?

What Is Presbyopia?

Author: Meredith Marmurek 

Reviewed by Thomas Stokkermans, OD, PhD, FAAO on 4/18/2024 


What Is Presbyopia in Simple Terms? 

Presbyopia is a vision issue that causes things up close to look blurry. It’s a natural part of ageing that most people start to notice around age 40. Presbyopia eventually affects nearly everyone, even those who have never worn eyeglasses.  

What Causes Presbyopia? 

Presbyopia is caused by age-related changes that take place in the eye. In fact, presbyopia means “old eye” in Greek.   


Presbyopia primarily affects the crystalline lens and ring of tiny muscles around the lens in your eyes. These structures focus light onto the retina in the back of your eyes to help you see clearly up close and far away. 


The lens is flexible and easily changes shape when you’re young so you can focus on objects at all distances. But as you age, the lens becomes harder and less flexible. This makes it more difficult for the muscles around the lens to change shape to focus on things up close. That’s why with presbyopia, your vision is often blurry when looking at your phone, reading, or doing other activities that require near vision.  


What Are the Symptoms of Presbyopia? 

Presbyopia usually happens gradually. The first symptom you might notice is the blurriness of small print when viewed up close. You may find yourself holding things farther away from your eyes to see them clearly.  


Other symptoms of presbyopia can include: 


  • Difficulty focusing on nearby objects  

  • Needing increased light to read or perform close-up tasks 

  • Experiencing headaches or eye strain following close-up activities like reading 

  • Feeling fatigued after doing close-up work 

  • Having a hard time focusing back and forth between things far and close 

How Do I Know if I Have Presbyopia? 

If you’re in your 40s or early 50s and your vision is blurry when looking at objects close up, you may have presbyopia.  


The symptoms of presbyopia are similar to those of hypermetropia (also called hyperopia), which is farsightedness. When you’re farsighted, you can see objects at a distance clearly but things up close are blurry.  


The best way to know if you have hypermetropia or presbyopia is to see an eye care professional for an eye test.  

What Is the Difference Between Hypermetropia and Presbyopia? 

The main difference between hypermetropia and presbyopia is the cause of the condition.

Hypermetropia may develop when the eyeball is shorter from front to back than normal or when the cornea is abnormally shaped. These factors cause light that enters the eye to focus behind the retina instead of directly on it, affecting your near vision.  


Presbyopia is, instead, caused by the lack of flexibility of the crystalline lens and not by a shorter eyeball or an abnormally shaped cornea.     


Many people with hypermetropia are born with the condition but it may resolve during childhood. Though presbyopia typically worsens with age, it usually stops progressing around age 65. 

Are There Glasses for Presbyopia? 

Reading glasses are a common solution for addressing presbyopia. They can help you see clearly during close-up tasks or when reading small print.  


At Foster Grant, our reading glasses come in different strengths, ranging from +1.00 dioptres (the lowest amount of magnification) to +3.50 dioptres (the highest amount). You can use our sight test chart to help determine which strength you might need.  


Glasses for presbyopia can also come with prescription bifocal or varifocal lenses for those who need vision correction at various distances. These may be ideal if you get tired of putting your glasses on to see up close and taking them off to see far away. Bifocal or varifocal lenses may be the ideal option in this case.  


Bifocals have two strengths in one lens — one for near vision and one for distance vision. Varifocals have three strengths in one lens — one for seeing close up, one for intermediate vision (like using a computer), and one for distance vision.   

How Is Presbyopia Corrected? 

The most common means of correcting presbyopia include: 


  • Eyeglasses, such as readers, bifocals, and varifocals  

  • Contact lenses, like monovision and multifocal lenses 

  • Surgery, including laser surgery and lens implants 


Eyeglasses are an easy and effective way to correct presbyopia. Contact lenses can also be used to treat this condition. In some cases, surgery may be recommended or preferred.  


Surgeries that can treat the symptoms of presbyopia include: 


  • Refractive surgery – This type of surgery reshapes the cornea to help improve your vision.  

  • Intraocular lens implant (IOL) – With an IOL, your natural (crystalline) lens is replaced with an artificial one that helps your eye to focus better.  

  • Corneal inlay – An IOL is placed within the cornea of your non-dominant eye. It helps your eye to focus better on close-up objects without impacting your ability to see things in the distance. 

  • Laser eye surgery – A laser is used to reshape your cornea and improve your vision. Using a monovision approach, vision in each eye is corrected differently so you can see clearly at all distances. One eye is adjusted so you can see better close up while the other eye is adjusted so you can see better at a distance.  


If you’ve noticed changes in your vision or you think you may have presbyopia, be sure to schedule an eye test. An eye care professional can diagnose your vision problem and help you choose the best vision correction option.  


When you’re ready for glasses for presbyopia, shop our wide variety of specs for women and men to find your perfect pair. 



  1. What is presbyopia and how is it corrected/treated? July 2023.* 
  2. Presbyopia: What causes it and how to treat it. All About Vision. February 2019.* 
  3. Presbyopia and treatments FAQ. All About Vision. April 2019.* 
  4. Presbyopia. Cleveland Clinic. July 2023. 
  5. Hyperopia (are you farsighted?): Symptoms and treatment. All About Vision. March 2019.* 
  6. Farsightedness. MedlinePlus [Internet]: National Library of Medicine (US). July 2022. 
  7. Reading glasses vs. multifocal glasses: Which ones should you get? All About Vision. October 2022.* 


The sources listed here have been provided for informational purposes only. The citation of a particular source does not constitute an endorsement or approval of EssilorLuxottica products, services, or opinions by such source.  


*Like Foster Grant,, All About Vision, and AAV Media, LLC are affiliates of EssilorLuxottica.