Recognizing and taking charge of your presbyopia

By Dr. Giovanna Olivares, OD, FAAO; Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Director & Staff Writer

Picture this: You’re sitting at restaurant you’ve been wanting to try, and the server hands you a menu. In the dim light of dinner service, you notice that the words appear blurry, so you squint. That helps a little bit, but it’s still pretty blurry. Luckily, you find that when you hold the menu out at arm’s length, you’re able to read it and choose your dish.

Believe it or not, this is quite common, and if you’re approaching 40 or older, the likely culprit is presbyopia—an age-related condition. It happens to everyone, and it occurs because one of the parts of your eye responsible for focusing—a small lens inside the eye—becomes less flexible as you age, making it more difficult to see nearby objects clearly. But fret not! Understanding the signs and exploring solutions for presbyopia will help you maintain an active and vibrant lifestyle.

Signs of presbyopia

  • Squinting

This is a common sign of presbyopia as your eyes compensate for the decreased ability to focus.

  • Difficulty reading small print

Books, smartphones, photographs, menus, medicine bottles—all of these can become a challenge because of blurriness or lack of focus.

  • Eye fatigue

Prolonged near-vision tasks, such as reading or computer work, may lead to eye strain and fatigue.

Options for clearer vision

  • Glasses

Arguably the most common and visible solution are glasses, and those that choose this route have options. Choose from stylish reading glasses, progressive lenses for seamless transitions, or bifocal/trifocal lenses for correction needs.

  • Contact lenses

If you’re a person that wants freedom from glasses, you can go with contact lenses designed specifically for presbyopia. These multifocal lenses provide both near and distance vision correction.

  • Surgical options

Surgical procedures like refractive lens exchange or LASIK can correct presbyopia. Consult with your eye care professional to explore these options and determine if they are suitable for you.

Presbyopia may be a natural part of the aging process, but it doesn't have to hinder your lifestyle. By recognizing the signs and exploring available solutions, you can regain clear vision and enjoy life to the fullest. Visit your eye care professional to discuss your vision needs.

More About Presbyopia

About the author

Giovanna E. Olivares, OD, FAAO

About the author

Giovanna E. Olivares, OD, FAAO is the Global Director, Specialty Platforms Research & Development, at Johnson & Johnson Vision Care (JJVC). In this role, she is responsible for overseeing the strategy, design, and development of new products to support the company’s global Astigmatism and Presbyopia platforms. In 2017 under her leadership, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, launched ACUVUE® Oasys 1-Day with Hydroluxe® for Astigmatism and ACUVUE® Vita® for Astigmatism to meet our patients’ needs. In 2021, her team launched ACUVUE® OASYS MULTIFOCAL with PUPIL OPTIMIZED design. Recently in September, 2022, she launched ACUVUE® OASYS MAX MULTIFOCAL for presbyopia patients. Dr. Olivares joined Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. in 2004 as Sr. Manager of the R&D Design Clinical Research Group. In this role, she led a multidisciplinary group including Optometrists, Ophthalmologists, Vision Scientists, and Biostatisticians responsible for the development of new innovative contact lens products and clinical methodology. Under her leadership, the group launched several brands including ACUVUE® ADVANCE for ASTIGMATISM, ACUVUE® OASYS for ASTIGMATISM, and 1-DAY ACUVUE® MOIST for ASTIGMATISM. Under her leadership, the first validated patient questionnaire for JJVC was developed, CLUE (Contact Lens User Experience). In 2010, she was appointed to the position of Director of Professional Education, responsible for developing innovative educational programs across the spectrum of students, eye care professionals, Professional Affairs Consultants, and the company’s Sales & Marketing organizations. Prior to joining Johnson & Johnson Vision, Dr. Olivares served as the Director of Clinical and Professional Development for Unilens Corp. USA, where she developed contact lens designs for presbyopia. Additionally, she has practiced in an ophthalmology practice, private optometric practice, retail optometry, and as a technical medical consultant at TLC, a center for LASIK surgery. Dr. Olivares received her BS degree from the University of Rochester and her OD degree from the State University of New York (SUNY). She subsequently completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Ocular Disease management at the SUNY College of Optometry. After her fellowship, she joined the SUNY faculty as an Assistant Professor with clinical and didactic teaching responsibilities in the areas of contact lenses, ocular disease, pediatric/binocular vision, and primary care. Dr. Olivares is a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry, has authored numerous scientific articles and has lectured internationally on contact lens technology and fitting for success.

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