Presbyopia or Eyestrain

In addition to making near vision difficult, presbyopia can cause redness and itchy eyes. Learn more about it in this article.
Presbyopia or Eyestrain
Leonardo Biolatto

Written and verified by the doctor Leonardo Biolatto.

Last update: 27 May, 2022

Presbyopia is a vision defect commonly referred to as eyestrain. Surely you’ve noticed that most people over the age of 50 start move books, cell phones, or any other item further away, because they aren’t able to see it well up close. Ever wonder why?

This is a process that affects around 85% of people over 45 years of age. The crystalline lens, which is the transparent lens of the eye, loses elasticity, and near vision becomes significantly impaired.

Unfortunately, presbyopia cannot be prevented. However, it can be treated and improved. Therefore, in this article we’ll explain everything you need to know about presbyopia to make it easier for you to identify the symptoms.

What is presbyopia?

The crystalline lens is a transparent part of our eye that acts as a natural lens. Its function is to focus the light rays on the retina, so that the vision process takes place correctly.

Over the years, the crystalline lens becomes increasingly opaque and less elastic. This loss of elasticity is what causes presbyopia. In fact, it’s a normal physiological process that comes with aging. Therefore, presbyopia cannot be classified as a disease.

What happens is that the ability to see near things clearly is lost. In other words, near vision deteriorates. Symptoms begin to appear after the age of 40 or 45.

A woman with tired eyes.

What are the symptoms of presbyopia?

The main and most obvious symptom is that it becomes difficult to focus on objects at close range. For example, it’s very easy to see this when trying to read a book or see something on a cell phone screen. People with presbyopia begin to move these objects farther away in order to see clearly.

Another of the most frequent symptoms is headache, which appears especially when reading. Likewise, the eyes suffer and become fatigued. Many people experience stinging, dry eyes, redness, and tearing.

In addition, symptoms are often worse at night and in situations where the light is dimmer or it’s darker. In fact, as age increases, the defect becomes more and more intense and the symptoms become more severe.

Is there any way to prevent or treat presbyopia?

The truth is that, as it’s a natural process, it can’t be prevented. There are some ways to delay its onset, although scientists haven’t proven that they’re really useful. The idea is to maintain proper visual hygiene.
To do this, first of all, it’s important to rest your eyes from time to time. Especially when working constantly at the computer. We suggest you take half-hour breaks to relax your eyes.

We also recommend spending some time outdoors in natural light. In addition, when going out for a walk or sunbathing, you should protect your eyes with sunglasses. These are basic measures to take care of your eyesight in general.

A woman with sunglasses.

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How a doctor treats presbyopia or eyestrain is based on the use of glasses, contact lenses, or surgery. First of all, glasses can be reading glasses, bifocals or progressive lenses. Reading glasses have always been the most commonly used, but they’re less and less recommended, because they’re only useful for occasional use.

Bifocal glasses are nowadays almost out of use. However, progressive glasses allow vision to be focused at all distances, both near and far. The upper part of the lens corrects distance vision, while the lower part improves near vision. The change between zones is progressive.

Although it’s a slightly more complex option, there are currently numerous surgical techniques that can significantly improve presbyopia. It’s best to see an ophthalmologist to help you decide the best treatment for you, depending on your symptoms, your age, and your general condition.


Presbyopia, also called eyestrain, is a normal process that accompanies aging. It consists of the crystalline lens becoming less elastic with time, and near vision becomes more difficult. It can’t be prevented, but there are currently many ways to improve these vision defects.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.