So yesterday was World sight day with the call to action being Eye Care Everywhere.

This one concerns each and every one of us because we all utilize our peepers greatly; rely on them for most of life’s activities. I don’t think any seeing being would like to become blind at any point in life, though sometimes it is inevitable but sometimes blindness comes because of poor eye care.

There are some common eye defects that we are used to, the myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. But many people below the age of 40 are unaware of presbyopia. I wasn’t aware of that defect till the young female ophthalmologist told me in her small quiet voice – ‘you have presbyopia’. I was like what is that? And she launched into an even more bizarre explanation.

Presbyopia is an age-related eye defect, like having aging eyes, Lolz. Further research showed me that it is a condition whereby your sight gradually loses its ability to focus easily. The eye lens loses its natural flexibility. It usually occurs in those above 40 and, so why am I diagnosed with presbyopia way before 40?
The ophthalmologist opined that it could be as a result of my lifestyle or other underlying ailment. Presbyopia before 40 is known as premature presbyopia.

Presbyopia is mostly as a result of aging but premature presbyopia could be attributed to the following factors –

  • Anemia
  • Diabetes
  • Hyperopia (far sightedness) and other eye diseases and trauma
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Poor blood flow
  • Multiple sclerosis

Other factors that put you at greater risk of premature presbyopia include

  • Drugs – antidepressants. Anxiety drugs, antihistamines, diuretics and antispasmodics.
  • Alcohol
  • Being female
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Gadget Screens – smartphones, computers, television.

The last point is probably why premature presbyopia is on the increase.

Some Warning Signs of Presbyopia

  • Difficulty in focusing on reading or other close-up work like knitting.
  • Blurred vision during the above activities at normal distance.
  • Difficulty reading fine prints
  • Abnormal sensitivity to light
  • Eyestrain often resulting in headache.

When I asked the ophthalmologist if the lenses she recommended will correct the premature presbyopia, she shook her head and emphatically said No, that in fact, it will deteriorate as I age. What? God forbid! It is not my portion were my exclamations. The internet yielded further ‘treatment’ as surgery.
That is why I chose to write this today – presbyopia, premature or not, has no known cure. The eyes keep getting older! Therefore, the best thing you can do for yourself is to insist on proper eye care. That is the only way to postpone or even evade presbyopia.

Tips for proper eye care to avoid presbyopia

  • Visit an ophthalmologist. That is the first step so as to maintain good eye health.
  • Eat healthy and balanced diet rich in vitamins A, C and E. Carrot works wonders for the eyes.
  • Wear sunglasses or hats to minimize UV rays.
  • Minimise your exposure to screen lights. Don’t stare at the screen for hours on end. Take long breaks from your phones and computers.
  • Wear glasses or have screen guards on your gadgets and minimize the light especially when in a dimly lit environment.
  • Avoid staring at the phone under the sun.
  • Exercise your eyes often.
  • Watch your alcohol intake and smoking.
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