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Presbyopia: Prevalence, Impact, and Interventions


Ilesh Patel and Sheila K West


Dana Center for Preventive Ophthalmology, Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins University




Community Eye Health Journal


  • Presbyopia is an age-related loss of lens accommodation that results in an inability to focus at near distances.

  • It is the most common physiological change occurring in the adult eye and is thought to cause universal near vision impairment with advancing age.

  • The prevalence of presbyopia in low- and middle-income countries is not well known, as most studies of refractive error in these countries have been limited to distance vision.

  • There are few presbyopia studies that have used a population-based approach, making it difficult to draw conclusions about the prevalence of presbyopia in the general population.

  • While new treatments are being developed for presbyopia, spectacles represent an effective, economic option for low- and middle-income countries.

  • Further research should be conducted to determine why women and persons who live in urban environments have more presbyopia.

  • As low- and middle-income countries undergo the demographic transition towards an ageing population, the number of people with presbyopia will increase.

  • The impact on quality of life for older persons is now clear and presbyopia should be part of the WHO refractive error agenda.

  • Clearly, presbyopia poses an important public health challenge, because it affects older people’s ability to maintain their economic independence. We need to start working towards effective solutions.