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Picture showing reading glasses. Presbyopia (lao hua) causes and treatments. Visit Lee Hung Ming Eye Centre in Singapore for a consultation.

What is Presbyopia?

In short, presbyopia (or “lao hua yan”) is the inability to focus on near objects as a person ages.In a normal eye, the lens works together with the surrounding muscles to change shape as needed. This enables one to focus at near distances. As a result, the eye is able to carry out near activities such as reading.

By and large, presbyopia is caused by weakening of the muscles which control the focusing power of the lens. Generally, presbyopia begins to develop around the age of 40. Consequently, the ability to focus continues to decrease as the person ages. Hence, many people require reading glasses in their golden years.

Additionally, presbyopia can also be caused by the hardening of the lens.

Is there a way to prevent Presbyopia?

Given that presbyopia is an age-related eye condition, little can be done to prevent it. In other words, presbyopia is a natural part of the aging process. However, there are many treatments available.

What are the treatments available for Presbyopia?

Optical Devices

Oftentimes, optical devices are recommended. However, many of them only offer short-term correction. That is, patients will still have presbyopia upon removing them.

  • 1) Wearing of progressives or reading glasses.
  • 2) Wearing of multifocal contact lenses.
  • 3) Using a pair of reading glasses on top of the contact lenses.

Vision Correction Procedures

Alternatively, presbyopia can be treated through vision correction procedures. These minor procedures require around 15-30 minutes. Thereafter, patients can enjoy 24/7 visual freedom. In other words, they will be able to see clearly without the hassles of glasses and contacts.

Which treatment method is the best?

There is no one-fits-all treatment. Conversely, the best treatment depends on one’s eye condition and lifestyle. For example ICL may be a great treatment option for a patient with presbyopia and high myopia. However, it will not be suitable for someone with presbyopia and cataracts. In the latter, IOL implantation with cataract surgery is a better choice.

As such, it is important to consult an eye specialist. A good doctor will be able to recommend an option for your particular condition.

The table below gives an overall summary of the advantages and disadvantages of the different vision correction options for presbyopia:

Mode of Correction Advantages Disadvantages
Progressives glasses
  • Convenient, able to see distant & near with 1 pair of glasses.
  • Adaptation problems as vision are restricted to small areas on the lenses.
  • More expensive than normal reading glasses.
Reading glasses
  • Easy to use.
  • Offers a wide area of clear vision.
  • Causes inconvenience if wearer forgets to bring them around.
  • Does not look good cosmetically.
Multifocal contact lenses
  • Convenient, able to see distant & near with 1 pair of contact lenses.
  • Adaptation problems as vision at distant and near are compromised.
  • May cause dryness and other eye problems with overwear.
  • Convenient, able to see distant and near with monovision or SUPRACOR treatments (learn more)
  • Relatively more expensive than optical aids.
IOL implantation with cataract surgery
  • Convenient, different types of IOLs are available to treat myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism and presbyopia (learn more)
  • Relatively more expensive than optical aids.
  • Recommended for eyes which have developed cataract.

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General pricing for first visits:
Consultation: $100-$120
Eye tests required depend on eye condition

GlassesContact Lenses (Soft)Contact Lenses (Hard)None