Technology use adding to the risk

THE limitations of growing up with vision deficiencies is something Louisa Wong knows all about. Ms Wong was genetically passed a condition known as myopia, referring to short- sightedness, which she has lived with since she was eight. A “high strength” diagnosis can lead to an increased risk in retina detachment — and even blindness. “It happened to me 10 years ago, I had a retina tear because of being seriously short sightedness,” Ms Wong said. “It can lead to blindness, so something people should regularly get checked to prevent that from happening.”

Now her daughter Helina, 8, is being monitored for the same condition. A new report estimates myopia Will reach epidemic proportions, with 36 per cent of Australians expected to be myopic by 2020 . That number increases to more than half the population by 2050 Ms Wong said a lot of activities children participated in did not cater for high strength goggles or glasses making the condition a social obstruction in a formative years. “You can’t really see much without wearing glasses, so it limited a lot of recreational activities like swimming or sporting activities,” she said.

She (Helina) does say to me she has trouble reading at school from the distance she sits, and she will get a mild headache every now and then.

Presbyopia is usually first noticed around the age of 40 to 45 years. Although difficulties with close work may seem to come on suddenly, the aging process that causes presbyopia is gradual and has been going on since childhood. Between the ages of 45 and 65, the amount of presbyopia increases, making near work more difficult.

Presbyopia can be corrected by spectacles and/or contact lenses. It is important that the prescription is calculated for the distance at which you do your close tasks. Surgery can now correct for presbyopia through use of multifocal intra-ocular lenses and monovision, however there are associated risks and outcomes are not always ideal. A thorough discussion with your optometrist will enable you to decide on your best options.


Reading glasses, the primary correction for presbyopia will make near objects clear but distant objects blurry. This means that if you have a pair of spectacles just for reading, you will not he able to watch television while wearing them. Having different prescriptions for distance and reading can be a nuisance, especially if you have to change spectacles all the time. Bifocals, progressive lenses and ½ eyes have all been designed to reduce this problem, however in our current digital world we find ourselves prescribing specific glasses for specific tasks rather than a one size fits all.


Although your close focusing system is not functioning as well as it used to. once presbyopia has been corrected with spectacles you will be able to see close things as well as you always did. Presbyopia does not represent a threat to your eye health. Wearing spectacles will not accelerate or slow the development of presbyopia.


Between the ages of 45 and 65 years, your prescription is likely to change significantly. It is sensible to have your eyes examined every two years to review your correction and your general eye health. If you experience vision problems earlier, you should make a review appointment with your optometrist. Your optometrist will advise you of the most appropriate period between consultations.

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