Most people over 40 are familiar with the perils of presbyopia, a vision condition in which the lens in your eye becomes harder and less flexible as you age. As a result, the lens loses its ability to focus light correctly on the retina, which makes it difficult to focus on close objects. Many presbyopes can be identified by their reading glasses which often sit on top of their head until it’s time to look at or read something up close.

Presbyopia is a natural part of the aging process of the eye. It is not a disease, and it cannot be prevented. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t solutions out there for the nearly 128 million Americans affected by the condition. It turns out this happens to be an exciting time in the world of presbyopia as optical searches for new and innovative options for presbyopes.

For VM’s June Edition, our editors talked to a wide variety of optical players for a special feature and one theme resonated—optical companies and eyecare professionals are adopting, expanding and advancing their efforts when it comes to groundbreaking solutions and corrections for presbyopes. Take a look at an overview of our story below, “What’s New for Older Eyes” as well as an update on new technologies for contact lenses, a Q&A with the chief clinical editor of Jobson’s newest publication, Review of Presbyopia and The Aging Eye, and a look at the first pharmacological solution for presbyopia.

Mankind has been grappling with the problem of presbyopia ever since people started living long enough to experience it. We are roughly 750 years into the era of reading glasses, 250 years into the multifocals era, 70 years into the progressive lens era, and 20 years into the customized progressive lens era. With all of these advancements, and particularly the explosion of technology in the past few decades, eyeglass dispensers and wearers might be forgiven for expressing some cynicism about claims of new advancements in the cause of clearer vision for presbyopes and their aging eyes.

This would be a mistake, because, despite all the advancements that have come before, there is still progress to be made, and with the aid of new technologies and scientific achievements, the eyecare industry is making it.

To better understand the new wave of products and strategies for treating presbyopia and what’s driving it, Vision Monday spoke with leading suppliers and eyecare professionals. They offered insights about some of the latest multifocal spectacle and contact lenses as well as new pharmaceutical options, and how they can help patients see better and feel better.

As new treatments emerge not only for presbyopia but for related ocular conditions that affect aging eyes, Vision Monday’s parent, Jobson Optical Group, recently launched a new, online publication and website titled Review of Presbyopia and the Aging Eye.

In addition to reporting news about these topics, the publication offers in-depth coverage of optical, contact lenses, dry eye, pharmacology, glaucoma, retina, refractive surgery, aesthetics and nutrition solutions by an experienced team of professional editors. VM rounded up some of the newest advancements in presbyopia treatment solutions in this Special Report. Here are some highlights.

Editor’s Note

To learn more about the optical industry’s efforts on new solutions and treatments for presbyopes, read the story “What’s New for Older Eyes” here.

Capturing Visual Behavior
With the advent of freeform manufacturing in the early 2000s, lens designers were able to incorporate data unique to an individual wearer into the design of a progressive lens, including all elements of their prescription, frame size and fitting measurements. While these could yield significant improvement in visual performance, they were essentially static measures of visual needs.

Since then, the Holy Grail of lens design has been to measure key dynamic elements of the patient’s visual behavior. Using highly sophisticated design software, lens companies have taken a range of approaches to capture this information. Harmonizing Binocular Vision

One of the basic problems of progressive design is achieving binocular clarity in a dynamic visual environment—binocular vision may be nearly perfect as the eye moves vertically through the lens, but vision from side-to-side is more challenging, especially in areas of the lens where peripheral astigmatism is an issue.

Sophisticated design tools are required to ensure that both eyes are experiencing nearly the same optical powers at any angle of gaze, but the problem is even more complicated when the patient needs a different prescription for each eye.

New Design Approaches

Today, progressive lenses are the most popular form of vision correction, and, as we’ve seen, continue to evolve as researchers and designers find new ways to increase wearer satisfaction. At the same time, optical companies are pursuing innovations, that, in one way or another, stand outside the mainstream of eyeglass lenses for presbyopes.

Rethinking the Curve
One of the basic principles of ophthalmic optics is that there is an ideal curve for every prescription power. But the essence of progressive design is that the curvature of the lens changes from top to bottom in order to allow clear focus on objects in the foreground. This change in curvature has always been achieved by applying progressive optics to a lens blank with a standard, symmetrical base curve.

Read More About Presbyopia

The following sidebars are also part of Vision Monday’s Presbyopia Update. These stories highlight advances in technology for contact lenses, a Q&A with Jack Schaeffer, OD, who is the chief clinical editor of Jobson’s newest publication, Review of Presbyopia and The Aging Eye, and a look at Vuity, the first pharmacological solution for Presbyopia.

Advances in Multifocal Contact Lens Technologies
It seems that nearly every year, contact lens manufacturers are trying to innovate and release new products to market, and this year is no different. Many of the products that have either recently launched or that are soon-to-launch are targeted at the growing presbyopic population. Multifocal optics are being introduced to popular modern contact lens materials and completely new multifocal optic designs have been released as well. This article will discuss the newest contact lens technologies from the major manufacturers aimed at tackling one of the more challenging fits—the presbyopic patient. Read More

Presbyopia Management In-Depth

Jack Schaeffer, OD
Jobson recently launched a new online journal called Review of Presbyopia and The Aging Eye. In this Q&A, Vision Monday asked the journal’s clinical editor, noted optometrist and educator Jack Schaeffer, OD, FAAO, and chief clinical editor of the publication, to talk about the journal’s intent and scope. Read More

Vuity: The First Pharmacological Presbyopia Treatment

Up to now, presbyopia treatment has almost always involved the use of a lens, with laser surgery being the one exception. But in what can only be described as a major breakthrough, a new type of treatment has arrived in the form of a prescription medication—Vuity, which was developed by Allergan. Vuity, of course, is not a “cure” for presbyopia, but it can reduce a patient’s need for reading glasses or multifocal lenses. It does this by reducing pupil size, increasing depth of focus and improving near vision while not affecting distance vision. Read More