Lhe word presbyopia comes from the ancient Greek, from the union of two terms: “presbys” which means old and “opia” sight, eye. Already in this etymology there is the gist of what it is not a real visual defect, but a phase that sooner or later everyone has to deal with. The problem lies precisely in the sooner or later. In the last few years one becomes farsighted always earlier, or rather it is more difficult to manage this mode of vision starting from the age of 40. Dr. Lucio Buratto, internationally renowned ophthalmologist, medical director of the camoCentro Ambrosiano Ophthalmic of Milan, explains the reason for this epidemic of “young farsightedness” and how to cure it.

    You use too much “mode” up close

    From the moment you wake up to late at night. Always looking at text messages on chats or tinkering in front of the PC screen. These are gestures that favor presbyopia, because they oblige always and constantly see only up close. “In the past, near vision was used very little compared to today,” explains the Doctor Lucio Buratto. «Today the visual engagement up close is much higher and more constant, consequently the eye suffers: once upon a time people did not practice backlit reading as is the case with most of today’s technological devices, or did you not suffer so much from dry eyes, due to the fewer blinks, when you are in front of an accessed screen. In fact, the eyes are more stressed and tired and presbyopia appears earlier» concludes the ophthalmologist.

    Why children don’t have presbyopia

    Presbyopia pays difficult to focus on nearby images, for this reason we tend to remove the receipt to read the bill or the newspaper if it is written too small. In practice, it reduces what doctors call the “accommodation phenomenon”: if as a child you could read even a train ticket without glasses, now you either push it away, or you have to use glasses with corrective lenses. «When you are a child, the accommodation is 7-8 diopters. As we grow up, this capacity decreases and, around the age of 40, the accommodation reaches 1-2 dioptres» explains the ophthalmologist. This happens because the crystallinea “lens” located on the inside of the eye, over time it loses its elasticity. It’s a physiological process, but wrong lifestyles, or rather wrong viewpointsthey can make it worse.

    It’s all about flexibility

    Let’s say it honestly. Taking out the glasses to read the menu at the restaurant is not exactly the best. Especially if you are not a grandparent yet. This is why, when people are told by an eye doctor that they are only 40 years old and have become presbyopic, they don’t take it so well. Women in particular suffer more from the signs of passing time. And it leaves traces not only on the skin, but also on the eye. “It’s all about flexibility. Over the years, the crystalline becomes less flexible, more rigid in expanding. As a result it is more difficult to focus, more light is needed to see clearly. To compensate for the “blurred” effect up close, one tries to distance what one is looking at» explains Dr. Buratto. In short, what happens to the back and many muscles of the body happens to the crystalline lens. When you enter the doors they are less flexible and the effects are not exactly pleasant.

    Dr. Lucio Buratto was one of the first ophthalmologists to use lasers in Italy.

    How can you improve your eyesight

    If many physical exercises can help to maintain muscle elasticity, only surgical solutions are needed to make the lens elastic again. “If presbyopia it is mild and can be corrected with the use of the Excimer laser. It is an outpatient procedure. It can also be performed to simultaneously correct other visual defects, such as myopia or hyperopia» explains Dr. Lucio Buratto. Presbyopia, if not corrected, gets worse over the years. You can get around the age of 60 to have a strong difficulty seeing clearly up close. In this case the laser is no longer enough, it is need to replace the lens with an artificial one. «This intervention can be done even if the lens is opaque and there is the cataract. In this case, both problems are treated with a single operation» explains Dr. Lucio Buratto. But what is the crystalline lens replaced with?

    A novelty to cure presbyopia

    If the difficulty in seeing up close is increasingly present, we find ourselves having even 3-4 pairs of glasses. From the one for reading to the one for driving, to those for prescription sunglasses or those to be used in front of the computer, managing all these changes of glasses without losing or confusing them becomes a stress. Then you may seriously consider lens replacement surgery. “Exist various types of artificial lensfrom that monofocal the first to be employed at that multifocal, which, however, does not give perfect visual quality» explains Dr. Lucio Buratto. «About two years ago we started using a new type of artificial lens, that aberrometric. It is more suitable for those over 50 years old. There correction you get is final, that is, presbyopia never reappears for life» concludes Dr. Buratto. And can glasses be thrown away? Almost. Occasionally they could be useful, especially in the evening when you are tired and want to read a book perhaps with a soft light. Certainly not if 3 or 4 different types are needed anymore and you can go to the restaurant quietly, without taking out your glasses to figure out what to choose for dinner.