Do I Have Presbyopia?

Elderly man with Presbyopia trying to read his cell phone

As we get older, our eyesight tends to suffer. Since aging is a slow process, so is the gradual loss of sight. This can make visual problems harder to identify until they become severe.

But if you’re a certain age and struggle more with certain tasks than you used to, you could have presbyopia. Presbyopia is a condition that lowers the ability to focus on nearby objects.

You can usually tell if you have presbyopia by a few key factors:


Age is the most common factor in patients with presbyopia. But you don’t have to be very old at all to be at higher risk.

Being 35 or older puts you at risk for presbyopia. If you have the following visual problems and you’re over 35, it’s very likely you have presbyopia.

Difficulty Reading

The most noticeable symptom of presbyopia is difficulty reading or completing up-close tasks. Even if you have presbyopia, you may not notice except for when you read something.

This will become especially noticeable if you’re trying to read the fine print. This is where many people turn to their reading glasses for help. Requiring reading glasses is a sure sign of presbyopia.

Poor Up-Close Vision

While presbyopia makes it difficult to see up-close, it doesn’t affect distance vision. Because of this, many people with presbyopia will hold materials at an arm’s length.

This is to help them see better. Declining vision can be a symptom of other conditions, such as cataracts.

Being able to see well at a distance but not up-close is a clear sign of presbyopia. This is even more obvious if you were never farsighted before.

Pain from Eye Strain

The decreased ability to focus does not mean that your eye muscles don’t try to attempt to focus. Because focusing is harder, the muscles in your eye have to work harder.

This means you may push yourself harder to strain yourself to focus. This leads to eye pain. Eye pain, of course, can be indicative of other issues. If the pain is due to strain, it could very well be a sign of presbyopia.


Frequent eye strain can lead to headaches. Headaches alone do not always mean you have presbyopia. Headaches often result from a variety of visual problems, presbyopia included.

Having to strain and work the muscles in and around your eye can cause pain in these muscles, not only for your eyes. If you have trouble focusing your eyes and frequent headaches, it could be presbyopia.

If you do have presbyopia, you may want to consider reading glasses if you haven’t tried them already. But reading glasses aren’t your only option!

There are also procedures that you can consider like refractive lens exchange. RLE can be a great option if you don’t want to deal with the hassles of reading glasses.

Want to find out if you have presbyopia? Wondering if there’s something better besides reading glasses out there?

Schedule an appointment at Ellis Eye in San Francisco, CA today to talk about your options!