Are visually demanding lifestyles leading to presbyopia earlier?
Article By: Dr. Rhonda Robinson, O.D.
Life today is centered around instant access to data. Our high technology world requires us to use our eyes so differently than generations before us. Cell phones are not just used to call people anymore. They are information access devices, cameras, movie and TV screens, and a constant companion throughout the day. Computers are not just for programmers anymore – desktop or laptop use takes up most of our work days. As a result of this, I have started to see more and more patients with increased eye fatigue earlier on in life than previous generations.
It's logical to attribute this eye strain to an increased near vision demand, brought on by these changes in our everyday lives – which is why I believe in treating these symptoms as the beginning of early onset presbyopia.
In order to discover whether an emerging presbyope is experiencing eye strain, I engage them in a conversation about the technology they use on a daily basis, like cell phones, computers, PDAs, etc., and talk to them about the high visual demands these technologies put on the eyes. Once prompted, it’s not uncommon for patients to readily discuss their near-point problems. If extensive near-vision demands appear to be causing eye strain, I’ll transition the discussion to multifocal contact lenses as a preferred treatment for early presbyopia.
I usually start with a brief demonstration to help the patient understand how multifocal contact lenses work. While holding bilateral +0.75 handheld trials over their glasses or contact lenses as they view their near-point card, their cell phone, or my computer in the exam room, I allow their accommodation to relax for a few seconds. When I remove the lenses, I ask, “Do you feel your eyes restraining when you refocus?” Instantly, patients can feel and see the difference.
From there, I continue the conversation by describing the advantages of incorporating “focus relieving” optics to reduce their eye strain in multifocal contact lenses. For most corrections, I utilize Bausch + Lomb PureVision Low Add multifocal contact lenses. This product provides clear distance and near vision without compromise and provides the focus and relaxation they require. I tell patients, “I have a contact lens that does the focusing for you, just like the handheld trial lens, so reading glasses and bifocals are not necessary.”
Generally, patients appreciate the freedom and aesthetics that contact lenses give them without the need for readers. Which is important, as emerging Presbyopes are not ready to hear the words “reading glasses” or “bifocals” just yet? In fact, until these patients have consistent blurry vision at near, they typically respond to the idea of readers with statements like “I’m not ready for bifocals; I can still see.”
By demonstrating multifocal contact lenses as a solution for the eye strain associated with early presbyopia, I create a happy, satisfied wearer that has all day visual comfort in a highly visually demanding world. My advice: demonstrate the benefits and customize the communication. That’s the key to success.
PureVision is a registered trademark of Bausch & Lomb Incorporated
®PureVision is a registered trademark of Bausch & Lomb Incorporated