Presbyopia or eyestrain

There are phrases that stick with you and this was a lapidary of a teacher I had when I was studying optics: Hopefully I have presbyopia or tired eyesight! He said it like that, and it stayed so wide to everyone’s amazement.

He did not say anything outrageous. Presbyopia is inevitably linked to age, like wrinkles or gray hair. Does anyone know a man of seventy, besides Julio Iglesias, with smooth skin and dark hair? Well, Julio Iglesias is also presbyopic.

Causes of presbyopia or tired eyesight

I know that I am tired with the etymology, but in this case it is almost essential. Presbyopia or presbyopia has its origin in the Greek presby (old) and opto (sight): old sight. There we take it. Without anesthesia.

In the eye is the lens, which is the lens that allows focusing . To see objects up close the lens bulges out and to see objects up close it gets flatter. As people get older, the lens hardens and loses that ability to bend. The ciliary muscles that accompany the lens also lose flexibility. Consequently, the lens cannot bend as much as it did in its early life and loses the ability to focus closely at the usual distance.


Symptoms of presbyopia

The symptom of presbyopia is clear: the person experiences the desire to have an arm hook  that allows him to move the newspaper farther away from his body, because at the usual reading distance (30-40 cm) he is unable to see two letters together clearly.

People with presbyopia have blurred near vision and / or difficulty shifting focus from near to far (or vice versa). They also see stacked or even double words or letters.

At what age does presbyopia appear?

Just because we are all going to have to squint our eyes and “stretch our arms” from the age of 40, 45 (or 50 the luckiest ones), does not mean that it will arrive at the same time. In hyperopes it appears somewhat earlier and in myopia later.

Age Addition
45 years From +1.00 to +1.25 D
50 years From +1.50 to +1.75 D
55 years From +2.00 to +2.25 D
60 years From +2.50 to +3.00 D

Source: Artigas M. (1987)

Presbyopia treatment

Presbyopia is not cured, but if it has something good, it is that it is easily corrected by means of glasses with convex lenses (similar to those used for a hyperopic). Except for specific cases, the same graduation is usually applied to both eyes.

There are different types, from simple to progressive glasses through bifocals. It is up to each one (and their pocket) to find the solution that best suits their characteristics. You can also consult with the ophthalmologist about various surgical procedures that currently exist to treat presbyopia.

Now in summer many people miss sunglasses for presbyopia and tragicomic scenes occur on our beaches, you know, those gentlemen who accumulate one glasses on another balancing to read the newspaper.

I also remember an assistant in the pharmacy who was reluctant to put on close-up glasses but next to her cutter she had a magnifying glass: every time she had to look at a national code she took out her magnifying glass and in this elegant and vintage way saved the situation. For tastes, colors.

The Apothecary’s advice

Although the university anthem said that of  Gaudeamus igitur  iuvenes dum sumus  (let’s rejoice while we’re young) I prefer to stick with the words of my optics teacher: rejoice if presbyopia hits us! because that will mean that we have lived at least a few years.

And to de-dramatize the tired eyes, I end with this surreal video called The presbyopia song painfully inspired by Abba’s Mamma mía song. I know that many will be horrified, but me, they will excuse me, I was very funny. But a lot. And I have many ideas about it, which is worse. I know, doctor, mine is serious


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