Presbyopia has long been known as the eye condition that causes us to need reading glasses as we age. It is defined as the eye’s loss of the ability to quickly focus on things that are close by, and has always been considered a normal part of life once you reach a certain age.
You’ve probably noticed that most people over the age of 50 wear reading glasses even if they never needed glasses in the past, and those who wore glasses to correct nearsightedness need to switch to bifocals.
But these days, the age at which presbyopia affects people seems to be creeping lower. Presbyopia is not a serious condition, but it is one that needs to be monitored and treated to avoid worsening. Here you’ll find several reasons for this along with what you can do to minimize your chances of developing presbyopia too early.
Screen-induced eye strain
All those hours spent gazing at your smartphone or tablet can cause eye strain. That’s common knowledge, but a study out of Tokyo in 2015 indicates that it may also lead to premature presbyopia. Presbyopia is technically a hardening of the crystalline lens of your eye, which can be accelerated by excessive eye strain, causing presbyopia to develop at a younger age. Limiting the amount of time you spend using digital devices will help you avoid the problem.
Also read: Best alternatives to reading glasses
The presence of systemic diseases — diseases that affect the entire body — are a risk factor for developing premature presbyopia. These diseases include diabetes, anemia and cardiovascular disease among others. Prompt diagnosis, treatment and management of these diseases could help prevent the early onset of presbyopia. Preventive care is hugely important as we get older, so always be sure to have regular check-ups and begin treating any issues you may have as early and thoroughly as possible.
Alcohol and antidepressants
The use of alcohol as well as certain drugs including antidepressants, antianxiety and antipsychotic drugs, will not cause presbyopia to occur, but they are a risk factor for the early onset of it. Presbyopia can actually be a side effect of consuming either alcohol and/or drugs that fall into this category. Be sure to consume alcohol in moderation and to discuss the risks and benefits of any drugs, prescription or otherwise, with your physician prior to taking them.