Presbyopia Diagnosis and Treatment

If you are approaching age forty or you are any age above that and you start noticing changes in your vision, this could very well be a natural process taking place, known as presbyopia, which comes with great optical correction options.

Presbyopia Diagnosis and Treatment in Olympia

What is Presbyopia?

Presbyopia is a term that describes a natural part of the aging process pertaining to the eyes. When people reach the age of forty or older, the lens inside the eye has more difficulty bending as flexibly as it used to, which is necessary to focus on nearby objects. Thus, people around this age start having a challenging time reading and doing various functions up close as their vision for nearby tasks becomes less clear. If you are around this age, give or take, and you notice changes in your vision, especially up close, please schedule an appointment with your eye doctor. Presbyopia can be diagnosed during a routine eye exam and your eye doctor will discuss with you effective ways to be able to see up close.

American Family Vision Clinic


Presbyopia is detected during a routine eye exam. The eye doctor will start by asking you for your medical history and if you have been experiencing any eye symptoms or changes in your vision lately. Your visual acuity will be checked, followed by a full refractive eye exam. During refraction, your vision is checked and the eye doctor determines your optical prescription. The eye doctor might use various instruments and lenses, while asking you if you feel your vision is improving or getting worse with the different options. 

It is common for eye drops to be used which will dilate your eyes for a few hours. This causes light sensitivity and it is recommended that you arrange for someone else to drive you home while your pupils are dilated. The eye doctor gains more access to observe the inside of your eyes when your pupils are dilated and the health of your eyes will also be assessed. Your eye doctor will tell you if you have presbyopia and will discuss treatment methods with you.


Presbyopia cannot be prevented as it is a biological part of the aging process, but there are wonderful ways to assist people who are experiencing blurry vision at near distances. The possible treatment methods are glasses, contact lenses, refractive surgery, or lens implants. Each option will be discussed more in depth below. Please schedule an appointment with your eye doctor to figure out what is the best approach for you and your lifestyle.

Over-the-Counter Glasses

If you have just been diagnosed with presbyopia and this is the first time that you require glasses then you might have a very basic prescription for reading glasses which you can buy over-the-counter at a pharmacy. Most pharmacies have ready-made reading glasses with prescriptions that range from +1 to +3 diopters, which is the measurement used for power in the glasses. These glasses are low prescription and can be used if you don’t have any other vision problems such as nearsightedness or farsightedness. You can ask your eye doctor if this option is suitable for you and which power glasses will fit your needs. You can also try on the reading glasses in the pharmacy and test which power best suits your visual needs as you practise reading while wearing the glasses. Using trial and error and experimenting with the most comfortable reading distance for you, you can find the best suited reading glasses for you in the store.

Prescription Reading Glasses

If you have other vision issues such as nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism then your eye doctor can prescribe glasses specific for your vision needs that you will only use for reading or at close distances. When you are driving or doing anything that requires vision at an intermediate or far distance then you will take off these glasses as the prescription is only for close up.



Prescription Glasses/ Contact Lenses for Both Near and Far Distances

There are a variety of glasses and contact lenses available which allow for an optical correction at both near and far distances within the same lenses. There are bifocals which have a prescription for distance vision on the top of the lens and then there’s a line that separates that from the bottom of the lens which has a prescription for near vision. 

There are multifocals, also known as progressive lenses, which allow for distance vision when looking through the top of the lens and then there’s no visible separation, but rather a smooth transition to the bottom of the lens which provides clear vision for up close distances. You can’t tell if a person is wearing multifocals as it has the same appearance as a regular lens. Please speak to your eye doctor to find out which option is best for you and your needs.


This is a unique approach used with contact lenses in which one eye has a lens that allows for clear vision at a distance, while the other eye has a lens that allows for clear vision up close. This can be a helpful option for some people, but this method isn’t suitable for everyone so please consult with your eye doctor to figure out what is best for you.


Vuity Eye Drops

Traditionally, presbyopia was treated with either reading glasses, progressive glasses or multifocal contact lenses. Vuity is a FDA-approved eye drop that makes it easier for patients with mild to moderate presbyopia to manage see close (such as reading).

Vuity eye drops are an easy and low cost option to help people across the globe. Why worry about looking old in reading glasses or wearing contacts when you can use an eye drop. The key issue is that it is not for everyone, which is why we stress the importance of a thorough eye examination and fundus exam before taking it. 

Refractive Surgery

This method is non-reversible and the patient must be warned prior to surgery that they may still need to use glasses even after going through the procedure. Some people with presbyopia get refractive surgery to achieve monovision. This means that they will undergo surgery to reshape the cornea of one eye in order to see clearly at near distances using this eye while the other eye can see clearly at far distances. There are various refractive surgery options and each comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. Please consult with your eye doctor to find out if you are a qualified candidate for refractive surgery and to figure out the best option for you.

Lens Implants

There is a procedure available in which the biological lens inside the eye can be removed and replaced with an artificial lens called an intraocular lens. There are various types of implants and each come with their own pros and cons. Your eye doctor can figure out with you which intraocular lens best suits your needs and lifestyle. Lens implants can decrease the quality of your near vision so people who go through this procedure may still need to wear reading glasses. Keep in mind, any eye surgery comes with risk of side effects or complications. Depending on the health of your eyes and your overall health, your eye doctor will decide if you qualify for this procedure and will discuss the benefits and risks with you.


Common Questions

Presbyopia is a natural age-related process. Over time, the biological lens inside of the eye loses flexibility and begins to thicken. These changes take place inside the proteins of the lens which make it harder and less elastic. In addition, the changes also take place in the muscle fibers around the lens. When the lens is flexible, it is able to bend in different ways to allow us to be able to see at various distances. When a person experiences presbyopia, it becomes more difficult for the eye to focus up close due to the lack of flexibility in the lens.
There are effective options which help a person with presbyopia be able to read and function when viewing objects up close. There are various types of glasses including simple reading glasses, some prescribed by your eye doctor or low prescriptions could be purchased over-the-counter at the pharmacy. In addition, there are different types of glasses and contact lenses such as bifocals or multifocals which provide an optical prescription for both far and near distances within the same lenses. There are also surgical options such as laser eye surgery or lens implants which are used to correct presbyopia. Please speak to your eye doctor to find the option that best suits your needs.
Presbyopia Diagnosis and Treatment
Dr. Zurcher cartoon


If you notice any decrease in quality of vision when viewing nearby objects, especially if you’re around the age of forty or older, please schedule an eye exam. Our eye doctor will check for the cause of this change in vision which could likely be due to presbyopia. Presbyopia is a natural age-related condition when the lens inside of the eye becomes less flexible making it harder to focus on objects closeby. Our eye doctor will discuss the best treatment plan for you to help you perform visual functions at a near distance. Call us at (360) 491-2121 to schedule an eye exam at our Olympia optometry clinic. Patients searching for advanced treatment for presbyopia and alternatives to reading glasses visit our clinic from all over Washington, and we are proud to be a leading provider of medical eye care services for patients from Olympia, Lakewood, Tacoma, and Lacey. 


Such a nice optician. My grandson is only 4 and needs glasses. We were so sad, but he explained the issues, and we will follow up as he suggested.

Anna P.

I had such a good experience with the clinic. Very friendly staff and doctor, did not have to wait for long to be called, and was treated respectfully. Thanks, American Family.

June S.

Dr. Zurcher has gone above and beyond what any other eye doctor has ever done to figure out what is going on with my eyes. Very happy with American Family Vision.

Christine R.

Family Vision Clinic changed our lives! My daughter was frequently car sick, and she was getting headaches every day, often painful enough that they brought her to tears. We saw a string of doctors and therapists, but we made no progress. Finally, we found Dr. Levi Zurcher and his eye therapist Rain. After ten weeks of eye therapy my daughter no longer gets headaches, and she no longer gets car sick. Daily tears are a thing of the past. I really can’t say enough about this clinic. It was fascinating to watch Dr. Zurcher work. For the first time, someone who knew what they were doing was intently studying my daughter, really trying to figure out all of her eye issues, and his therapist Rain is one of the most patient and lovely people that I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet. We’re finished with eye therapy—yay!—and I have switched to American Family Vision Clinic for all of my family’s other eye health needs.

Lars Wulff

Very professional, yet kind and helpful. They do what they can to make the appointment comfortable. I was running a bit late, I made sure ti call. They were able to switch me with a patient who was already there, they treated me with respect, and helped my son have confidence by getting him the eye care he needed that day. Thank you so much! Would recommend to anyone. It's a blessing that they care enough to work with people who have all different types of insurance from work to state coverage.

Justin E.

The staff is friendly. The Doc is very knowledgeable. The office is family friendly and everyone is so patient with the little ones.

Amy Fagerness
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