Natural Ways to Fight “Old Eyes” or Presbyopia


People who develop presbyopia (from the Latin, meaning “old eyes”) have difficulty focusing on close objects because the crystalline lens of the eye loses its flexibility.  Though it may seem to happen suddenly, this change in vision takes place over many years.  Signs of presbyopia include the tendency to hold reading materials at arm’s length, blurred vision at normal reading distance, and eye fatigue along with headaches when doing close work.

The American Society of Cataract & Refractive Surgery (ASCRS) is aiming help patients and the public better understand presbyopia.  They have introduced the new term “Age-Related Focus Dysfunction” to “medicalize” the condition.  The ASCRS  has a very different perspective on eye health than we do at Natural Eye Care, and while they seek to educate the public about surgical options for dealing with “short arm syndrome,” we would emphasize the ways in which healthy lifestyle and diet choices can keep eye young and flexible.

It’s important to realize that deteriorating eye sight is not inevitable just because you have celebrated forty-five birthdays or more.

To combat presbyopia, we recommend a combination of visual therapy, nutrition, and lifestyle changes to help slow down the progression of farsighted vision and possibly even improve vision. Genetics, stress, diet, and even personality type all play a role in the deterioration of vision and the onset of disease. Certain nutrients including lutein, zeaxanthin, vinpocetine, l-lysine can be very helpful.

A good place to start is with eye exercises that can help to bring energy and blood to the eyes, thereby helping to drain away toxins or congestion to the eyes.

There are surgical options out there, with more coming down the pike all the time, but why not improve your diet (leafy greens, whole grains, no transfats), quit smoking, cut back on alcohol, start an exercise (20 minutes per day of aerobic activity is a great start), and take up a relaxation practice (yoga, meditation, etc.)?

Presbyopia Affects Women the Most

Research focused on individuals in the developing world is showing that presbyopia affects men and women at different ages and in different ways.

A number of studies have revealed that women are more likely to suffer from presbyopia across the world – in Ghana, India, and Brazil.  Due to economics, women are also less likely to be able to obtain glasses than men.  For example, in a study of people with presbyopia in Tanzania, only 6% with the condition had glasses and nearly all of those were men.

While this condition is often associated with difficulties associated with reading and writing, in many parts of the world presbyopia interferes with other essential daily tasks like “lighting and adjusting lamps, winnowing grain, sorting rice, weeding, sewing, cooking food, and dressing children.”

Source: Community Eye Health Journal

Multifocal Contact Lenses for Presybyopia: A problem

Multifocal contacts lenses are often prescribed to people with presbyopia and have been linked to problems with driving at night.

An article published in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science describes how people wearing the lenses have a harder time recognizing road hazards.  Though the subjects could read the road signs, they had to be closer to see them clearly than when they were wearing glasses.

Researchers hope that their findings will help move manufacturers to improve the optical quality of their multifocal lenses.


Learn more about presbyopia.