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Presbyopia – Old Flower 老花

Presbyopia, old flower, or 老花, whichever you want to call it. If you’re above 40 years old and reading is starting to get difficult, this is it.

Presbyopia is a gradual process of aging whereby your eyes lose the ability to bring the focus from a far object to a near object. This presents itself as blurry vision when reading a book or looking at the mobile phone.

In the initial stages, the symptoms are mild and may be barely noticeable, such as feeling tired after near work, gradually holding reading materials further away, or turning up the brightness on a laptop screen.

Subsequently, blur sets in and near work becomes noticeably difficult. This is when most people would want to correct the presbyopia. There are several options, depending on your needs and visual requirements. A contact lens wearer may choose to put on a pair of reading glasses for near, while someone who is already wearing eyeglasses for myopia and astigmatism may want to consider progressive lenses.

We list the most common solutions and simulate the vision achieved with these lenses:

Reading (Single Vision Lenses)

Advantages: – easy to use, just put them on. – large viewing area – the whole lenses are for near.

Disadvantages – need another pair of eyeglasses for far vision, or need to remove the reading glasses for far vision.

Progressive Lenses

Advantages: – ‘one spectacles solves all’ – far, intermediate, and near vision are possible. – appears to others as just a normal pair of eyeglasses.

Disadvantages: – smaller viewing areas as there are multiple powers in the lenses. – learning and adaptation required.

Bi-focal Lenses

Advantages: – fairly easy to use, with two areas – one for far vision, one for near vision. – moderately large viewing areas.

Disadvantages: – unsightly line seperating the far and near portions. – ‘jump’ in the vision where the line is.


  • For bifocal lenses, there are ‘flat-tops’ as seen in the pictures, and ‘round-segments’ which are similar but have a rounded reading area instead.

  • There can be other solutions, including monovision, which is having one eye corrected for far vision and the other eye corrected for near vision, as well as wearing eyeglasses over contact lenses, or even wearing a contact lens in just one eye.

  • Office lenses allow correction for your workspace, which gives you good vision up to about 1m or more, which can be customised, while giving significantly better near vision as compared to standard progressive lenses.

FAQ on presbyopia

Click to [Expand All] or [Collapse All].

If I am myopic, will I not be presbyopic?

Is there a test I can do at home to know if I am presbyopic?

Can I just use off-the-shelf ready-made glasses?

Do I need to correct my presbyopia now? Can I wait till next year?

Will correcting presbyopia using reading glasses or progressives make it worse?

Is there anything I can do to stop presbyopia from getting worse?

Are progressive lenses difficult to adapt to?

Why does it take so long to do a pair of progressives?


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