Nearly 100% of people over 50 years of age have eyestrain

The equation is simple. If you are over 50, you have eyestrain. The margin of error is practically non-existent, since practically 100% of the population suffers from presbyopia. This is the inability to focus on objects in near vision, which is lost with age, and which begins to manifest itself after the age of 45. “The appearance of presbyopia is inevitable,” says Dr. Rodríguez Aguirretxe, ICQO ophthalmologist and president of the Northern Ophthalmological Association (AON), who explains that eyestrain “begins to appear at the age of 42 and by the age of 48 or 50 affects practically everyone, regardless of whether they have previously had eye problems or not”. This problem affects both myopes and hyperopes, although it manifests itself earlier in the latter, especially if they have not been treated.

According to Dr. Rodríguez Aguirretxe, “eyestrain is caused by the aging of the crystalline lens and the eye’s ciliary muscle, which allow the eye to perform the necessary accommodation operation when we move the focus to a nearby object”.

Long-arm syndrome

The main symptoms to know if a person suffers from eyestrain are based on the difficulty to focus on objects that are close, with the strange sensation that the letters are crowded and the need to extend the arms to move away the objects to be able to read better, a fact known as the ‘long arms’ syndrome. There are other factors that can accentuate presbyopia such as diabetes, anemia, certain medications, habits that involve the constant use of near vision…

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Although it is inevitable to suffer from it, there are tips that can help minimize its development and effects. “It is important to moisturize the eyes well -especially in people who work with computers- and blinking regularly or using eye drops to moisten the eye and, on the other hand, illuminate the spaces well, especially at night, as this increases the depth of focus of the pupil, improving near vision.

The solution to eyestrain, glasses or surgery

The best advice that can be given to a person who needs to make some change in reference to the vision that can be considered tired eyesight, is to go to an ophthalmologist. Until very recently, the only option for a person with eyestrain – apart from advice to minimize its impact – was the use of reading glasses and/or contact lenses. However, the latest technological advances have led to an increasing number of people deciding to solve their eye problems with the use of laser refractive surgery, a revolution in the ophthalmological field.

Laser refractive surgery is a safer and more precise technique than blade cutting, as it eliminates the risks of blade cutting. Thus, the fundamental advance of the new laser treatments with respect to traditional blades is that they offer greater precision and safety in surgery, since the laser has a margin of error of less than 10 microns.

As explained by Dr. Aguirretxe, “it is the prior consultation that determines the surgical indication, and honest advice must be given on the real possibilities of the treatment, since up to 80% of the success of this type of surgery depends on a correct or not personalized diagnosis based on previous exploratory tests and a correct intervention by the ophthalmologist.

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More than half a thousand refractive surgeries were performed at the Clinical Surgical Institute of Ophthalmology. However, there is no single presbyopia operation; the method will vary according to the needs of each patient.

For more information, consult an ophthalmology specialist.