Boomers can lose the bifocals

Published On: Aug 28 2012 11:23:20 AM EDT   Updated On: Sep 12 2012 04:23:58 PM EDT
glasses

(NewsUSA) - What's one medical condition that you either have or will get? Presbyopia, Greek for "aging eye," affects nearly every adult. Early signs of presbyopia typically appear around age 40.

Each year, 4 million people are diagnosed with presbyopia, an age-related process where the eye's lens loses flexibility.

Presbyopia causes eyestrain, headaches and trouble focusing on nearby objects. When visual symptoms set in, patients need reading glasses or bifocals to correct their vision.

According to one survey, only 27 percent of U.S. adults expect to need bifocals. The reality? Presbyopia is a natural condition that eventually affects all of us.

But new technologies have created options for correcting presbyopia, especially for those who might believe that bifocals are for older generations.

Multifocal contact lenses can provide a convenient, comfortable alternative or complement to bifocals or reading glasses. Justin J. Verrone, O.D., an eye care practitioner, said that contact lenses "now present a viable option for patients who need to correct presbyopia."

One lens manufacturer, CooperVision, offers many multifocal contact lenses. The contacts correct patients' vision at every distance. A person wearing reading glasses might remove their glasses to drive, only to put their glasses back on to read nearby road signs. With contacts, patients can see nearby, far away and at middle depths simultaneously.

Patients with presbyopia can wear multifocal contacts at every stage of their condition. Some of CooperVision's contacts help patients in presbyopia's early stages, while other lenses correct for the condition as it becomes more advanced. CooperVision created one lens, Proclear Multifocal Toric, to correct presbyopia in patients with astigmatism.

Presbyopia can be diagnosed through a general eye exam. People experiencing vision changes should locate an eye care specialist to discuss their options.