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Ophthalmic Physiol Opt. 2014 Jan;34(1):8-29. doi: 10.1111/opo.12091. Epub 2013 Nov 10.

Developments in the correction of presbyopia I: spectacle and contact lenses.

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Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK.



To outline the refractive problems associated with presbyopia and to review the basis and relative merits of currently-available methods for their correction, with detailed consideration of spectacle and contact lens approaches.


In the developed world, most of the present population will spend roughly half their lives as presbyopes. The well-known presbyopic changes with age in amplitude of accommodation and required near addition are briefly reviewed, together with the less widely acknowledged slow drifts that occur in distance refraction. The desirability of restoring to presbyopes clear vision for objects at any distance, ideally corresponding to vergences within the range of at least 0 to -5 D, in any viewing direction, is stressed. A general outline is given of possible corrective methods. Methods which satisfy the needs of a 50 year-old may not be suitable for the 80 year-old. Corrections may involve both fixed- and variable-focus lens systems, and surgical methods which modify the optics of the cornea, replace the crystalline lens with different fixed optics, or attempt to at least partially restore active accommodation. Some more recent methods of spectacle and contact lens correction are described in more detail. Particular attention is given to recent commercially-developed spectacles in which the corrective power can be varied actively by either mechanical (liquid-filled deformable lenses or Alvarez lenses) or electrical (liquid crystal lenses) means to allow objects at different distances to be seen clearly. Contact lens corrections show less progress and are still preferred only by a minority of older patients, most of whom are early presbyopes.


The rising proportion of presbyopes in the population, covering an age span of around 40 years, represents both a problem for those concerned with giving their patients the best vision possible at both far and near viewing distances and a commercial opportunity. Traditional single-vision distance and near, bifocal, and progressive spectacle lens solutions, together with contact lens modalities for presbyopic correction, are being challenged by a variety of new approaches. It remains to be seen whether the latter will receive wide acceptance in practice.


contact lenses; near additions; presbyopia; spectacle lenses; variable power

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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