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Presybyopia (the need for reading spectacles)

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Since the ability of the human lens to focus on close objects declines with age almost everyone will require spectacles for reading in the fullness of time. This is termed presbyopia and is a normal age change. Even those with perfect sight (emmetropia) do not escape. They will require simple reading spectacles from around their mid-40s onwards. Those who wear spectacles for myopia or hyperopia will require an additional reading prescription usually in the form of bifocal or multi-focal spectacles.

As mentioned above however, depending on the amount, some myopic individuals will be able to read small print easily by removing their spectacles. This, of course, is not always practical and contact lens wearers will, for example, have to wear reading spectacles ‘over’ their contacts in order to read clearly. This problem of presbyopia is one of the most important difficulties encountered by patients who have undergone laser refractive surgery.

The laser eye treatment can be thought of as a viable alternative for general distance/driving spectacles or contact lenses and patients of a presbyopic age (mid-40s) will require reading spectacles – just as they would have done had they been wearing their contact lenses. Laser refractive surgery does not cause this problem – it merely exposes it. If you are in your mid to late 40s or older it is highly likely that you will need reading spectacles for close-work (computers, deskwork, reading) after laser refractive surgery.