Do I have presbyopia ? What are my options

What is Presbyopia ?

Presbyopia, also known as lao hua yan (老花眼),usually occurs at about 40 years old. Everyone will get presbyopia . There is a misconception that if one is short sighted, one will not get presbyopia. This is not true . Those who are short sighted may get it later and those who are long sighted may get it earlier.

Also, long sighted, known as hyperopia, is not the same as presbyopia, which is the inability of the eye to focus at near objects. People who gets presbyopia will slowly lose the ability to focus at near objects as age catches up with them.

Signs and Symptoms

When people develop presbyopia, they find that they need to hold their books, menus, hand phones, tablets further away to see clearly when thrust in front of them.  When doing prolong near work, they may get eye strain , headaches and even dry eyes ( because they need to stare harder to see clearly) . They may also find it difficult to see distant objects clearly temporarily after looking at objects up close.

Causes of presbyopia

Presbyopia is age related. It’s believed that the crystalline lens inside the eye slowly thickens and loses its flexibility. The muscle fibers surrounding the lens  also undergo age related changes which makes it harder to change the shape of the lens , therefore making it harder for the eyes to change its focus from distance to near and vice versa.

What are my options ?

There are a few options to treat presbyopia.

1. Spectacles

  • Single vision reading glasses
  • Bifocals
  • Progressive lenses, including office lenses

2. Contact Lenses

  • monovision
  • multifocal contact lenses
  • bifocal contact lenses

3. Eye surgery

  • Intra corneal lens implant
  • Lasik (monovision)
  • Conductive keratoplasty
  • Multifocal intraocular lens implant ( if you are undergoing cataract surgery)

In the rest of the post, we will be talking about using spectacles to treat presbyopia as this is the most common option.

What do I need ?

Which spectacle option do I need ?

In order to determine the best option for you, at Evershine Optical, our optometrist after testing your eyes, will ask you a series of questions to understand your lifestyle and determine your needs . Which option to recommend also depends on your budget .

Single vision readers

If you have never worn glasses before and now needs to wear them because you need them to read the newspapers, or look at your handphones or office documents, a pair of singles vision readers is probably your best bet.

Single vision readers are also for people who only wants to use them as and when needed. However, single vision readers allow you to see up to a certain distance (depending on the reading power you need). if you need to see clearly further than say 1 to 1.5 meters, you maybe have to remove your glasses .

What if I am short sighted ?

People whose shorted sightedness is about -2.50D or less do not typically wear single vision readers to read as they can just remove their glasses. People who have higher degree of short sightedness  usually get a pair of single vision reader if they do prolong reading or find progressive lenses uncomfortable.

Progressive lenses 

Theses are so called “3 in 1 ” glasses. They enable you to see distance , intermediate and near . This is the best option if you are currently wearing glasses for distance and do not wish to remove your glasses or change glasses to read. People who are on the move all the time (spending less than 50% of the time doing near work) and do not wish to change glasses should get a pair of progressive lenses.

What if you have perfect vision for distance ? You can still wear progressive lenses without any prescription at the top part of the progressive lens, only using the intermediate and near portion for reading and computer.

Again, with a pair of progressive lenses, you can put on your glasses all the time without having to constantly putting on and removing them.  Imagine at a conference or seminar where you need to see the projector and write notes at the same time.

Progressive lenses are like jack of all trades, but master of none. Progressive lenses may not be optimal for people who spend a lot of their time in the office doing near work which include reading and computer work as their intermediate and near zone are quite narrow compared to single vision readers or office lens .

Office (progressive) lenses.

Office lens are also known as occupational progressive lenses. These lenses are for people who do alot of near work, spending more than 50% of their time in  the office.  Some office lens enable you to see up to about 4m and it’s not as restrictive as you think. With office lenses, you can see up close from about 30cm to about 400cm, depending on the type of office lens used.

Office lens has wide intermediate and near zone which enable you to see comfortably for computer and desk work. Read more about officelens here .

Do progressive lens cause dizziness ?

Because of the way progressive lenses are made, 1st time wearers usually need a little bit of time getting used to it. Generally, if you have a low reading prescription, it’s easier to adapt to it.

Some progressive lenses also have less distortion and easier to adapt compared to others. Many people have worn progressive lens successfully if they are fitted correctly and the prescription is accurate. Read more about what first time progressive lens wearer need to take note.


These are lenses that enable you to see far and near, with a visible dividing line for the distance and near portion of the lens. Because of the visible line, people nowadays do not choose this option anymore.

If you are still unsure of which option to go for,  we suggest that you book an appointment with our optometrist who will advise you accordingly after the consultation.





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