Presbyopia is a natural change that happens in all eyes as we get older.
There are two main parts of your eye which are responsible for focussing light onto your retina so that you can see clearly.
These are your cornea, the clear domed-shaped part on the front of the eye and lens inside the eye.
When you are looking at something far away, the lens in your eye is shaped so that the object is focussed on your retina, giving you clear vision.
When you look at something close up, like a book or your mobile phone, muscles inside your eye that surround the lens contract to make the lens change shape.
When we are young, the lens inside the eye is very flexible and elastic, so can change shape easily when we look at things close up. As we get older, our lens naturally stiffens and so it changes shape less easily. This means it becomes increasingly difficult over time to focus on objects that are close towards us and will sometimes take longer to adjust our focus from near objects to distant ones.
This generally becomes noticeable as a problem in our early forties and starts with us adjusting the distance we hold something to read.
Initially we may only need glasses to wear for close tasks such as reading a book but as the lens continues to stiffen we may also need correction for things further away such as computer screens.
Presbyopia is a natural part of ageing and there is no cure for it but we can correct the visual problems it causes with glasses or contact lenses. As it is not caused by muscle weakness but by the lens stiffening, eye exercises are of no benefit in slowing the progress of presbyopia.
Wearing glasses to correct presbyopia will not make your eyes worse or deteriorate quicker than they otherwise would. It is normal for people to feel more reliant on their glasses over time and to feel vision is more blurred without them than it was before they had them. This is simply because the deterioration continues with age and the comparison between with and without glasses becomes more stark.