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.