Patients often hear the term ‘accommodation’ used when Optometrists discuss the ability of the eye to see properly.
Accommodation is the process whereby the eye is able to change the point of focus from a distant object to a near object.
It’s an optical change in the eye and happens when the muscles inside the eye contract, allowing the optical power of the crystalline lens to be increased so that near objects can be brought into focus on the retina.
The young eye can do it without any trouble, and with objects very close to the eye. The older we get; the less power we have to ‘accommodate’.
When a healthy eye (not suffering from any refractive errors, i.e. not nearsighted or longsighted) is relaxed, it is focused at optical infinity.
This sounds quite profound; and means that when a normal eye is relaxed, distant objects are in focus. Optical infinity extends from about 20 feet on front of your eyes to the distant horizon ‘infinity’).
A short sighted or myopic eye, on the other hand, is focused at a point nearer than optical infinity when it is relaxed. This means that it needs to be corrected with a pair of glasses or contact lenses to again be focused at optical infinity.
In all normally sighted individuals, the ability to focus near objects is gradually lost with increasing age. The process starts from birth and just gets worse, although most people don’t really notice it until they get to about 45.
The ‘accommodate amplitude’ or ability to focus on near objects is almost completely lost between 45-50, and once it’s sufficiently reduced for people to have a major problem with reading or seeing print close to the eye, it’s recognised as an issue. Most people get reading glasses-reluctantly.
You don’t have to be slave to corrective eyewear, or pull out those reading glasses and let the world know you’re of a certain age. Optilase have two methods that can address the issue of presbyopia.