What is Presbyopia?

Presbyopia is a natural part of the ageing process resulting in a progressive loss of ability to focus on close objects or to read fine print. This is due to the loss of flexibility of the lens and weakness of the internal muscle of the eye. Presbyopia will affect everyone and usually starts after the age of 40. It is not a disease and cannot be prevented.

What symptoms will I experience if I have Presbyopia?

As presbyopia comes on gradually with age, most people will first notice difficulty in reading small print especially in poor lighting condition. You may also discover that you can read better when you “push” your book slightly further away. For those with myopia, they may find it easier to read without their glasses. If you ignore these symptoms, prolonged near work can give rise to eye strain, tearing, “tired eyes” and headache.

What are the treatment options for Presbyopia?

Most people will not notice small changes in their near vision and only seek professional help when it interferes with their daily life. Various treatment options include:

  • Glasses

Most people with presbyopia will choose to wear reading glasses for near work. For those who are already wearing glasses, bifocals or progressive lenses can be useful. These are lenses for both distance vision and for observing objects close up.

Another popular alternative is monovision where the dominant eye is used for viewing in the distance, and the other non-dominant eye is “under-corrected” for viewing things up close.

Since the effects of presbyopia are ongoing, periodic adjustments to your lens prescription may be needed for good and comfortable vision.

  • Contact lenses

Contact lens users can continue to use their contact lenses to correct their refractive errors but need to put on reading glasses for reading. Multifocal contact lenses are available and they work in the same manner as bifocals or progressive lenses.

  • Cataract Surgery with multifocal intraocular lens (IOL) implantation

For patients who also have cataracts, cataract surgery with implantation of special multifocal IOL can help to reduce patient’s dependency on reading glasses. Most patients who have these special IOLs implanted do not usually require reading glasses except for prolonged reading.

  • Corneal implant

A special corneal implant can be inserted in the non-dominant eye to help in near work. It works by increasing the depth of focus and creates a modified monovision effect.


LASIK cannot treat presbyopia. Patients who are already presbyopic can opt for monovision LASIK to reduce their need for reading glasses after surgery.