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What is presbyopia?

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Quick Answer

Presbyopia is a condition in which the lens in the eye loses flexibility, so it cannot focus on nearby objects, explains WebMD. This condition is a natural part of the eye's aging process, according to Mayo Clinic. However, younger patients are at risk of premature presbyopia if they suffer from diabetes or take certain medications, notes Healthline.

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Patients who suffer from presbyopia experience headaches and eye fatigue when focusing on nearby objects, according to WebMD. They need to hold reading materials at arm's length to see the words or pictures properly. Another common symptom is blurred vision when reading at close range.

As a person ages, his lenses and the muscle fibers surrounding the lenses stiffen and lose flexibility, explains Healthline. This makes it difficult for the lens to change shape and focus on nearby objects. Though the condition seems to appear suddenly, the lenses lose flexibility gradually over a number of years, notes the American Optometric Association.

Age is the most common risk factor for presbyopia, according to Mayo Clinic. However, drugs and certain medical conditions may cause presbyopia in people younger than 40. Patients who suffer from diabetes, hyperopia, vascular insufficiency, anemia and multiple sclerosis are at risk of developing presbyopia before age 40, reports Healthline. Antihistamines, antidepressants, diuretics, antipsychotics and antispasmodics are some of the drugs that may cause premature presbyopia.

Females, individuals who eat an unhealthy diet and patients who have had eye surgery are likely to get presbyopia earlier, according to Healthline. Patients can correct their vision with the help of surgery, prescription glasses and contact lenses.

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