Health x Wellness

In Conversation With Dr Tom Karkkainen

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Are you starting to experience blurred near vision when reading or working at the computer? You might just be suffering from presbyopia…

Presbyopia is the gradual loss of your eyes’ ability to focus on nearby objects, and it is a natural but annoying part of ageing. The thing about presbyopia is, no one can escape from it, even if you have perfect vision all this while. Read on to find out more, as The Active Age chats with Dr. Tom Karkkainen, a Senior Principal Research Optometrist and presbyopia expert.

P.S.: Should you have problems reading this article as you sit in front of your screen, you might want to get your eyes checked for presbyopia…

AA: Hi Dr. Tom, thank you for your time, first and foremost, I am sure this is the nagging question on all our readers’ minds. Who gets presbyopia? Does presbyopia happen to everyone? Who is most susceptible to it?

TK: Presbyopia is an age-related condition in which a person is unable to focus on near objects. It is a natural ageing process of the eye and usually begins at around 40-years-old. Fact of the matter is, presbyopia can happen to everyone including those who have always has good eyesight.

AA: How do I know I have presbyopia?

TK: People who have presbyopia will start to experience blurred vision at near distances such as when reading or working at the computer. They may need to hold their reading materials at arm’s length to read it.

AA: For someone who is having trouble with his or her vision while reading, but is hoping to put off regular glasses as long as possible. Is he or she doing harm to the eyes by waiting?

TK: For people who try to put off reading glasses as long as possible, no permanent harm is done to the eyes, but it is going to cause unnecessary eye strain and discomfort.

AA: Are there any permanent treatments for presbyopia? Do sufferer require special lens implants?

TK: While there are no treatments that can reverse the effects of presbyopia, it can easily be corrected with a variety of options. Non-surgical options like glasses and contact lenses are by far the most popular. A number of surgical options and implants may be considered especially when there are other conditions present such as cataract.

AA: Is it possible to correct presbyopia with surgery? RLE? We’ve also heard of prebyLASIK in the pipeline, will that come into fruition soon?

TK: Even when presbyLASIK is available, it will not be suitable to all lifestyle and vision needs, and results may vary from person to person.

AA: Are there options that don’t involve surgery? Such as contact lenses maybe?

TK: Eye doctors may prescribe spectacles to correct the problem but these aren’t always convenient if you live an active lifestyle. Multifocal contact lenses are another solution that most people are not aware of. With contact lenses you can still run, attend a fitness class and carry on living your life as you always have.




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