From Fossils to Facts: What happens to our eyes as we age?

The fossilised remains of a sea creature, from an estimated 500m years ago, include an early form of the eye seen in many of today’s animals.

The team of researchers stated that their findings suggested compound eyes had changed very little since the sea creature was alive (Read the full article on

While this news is extraordinary, and suggests that eyes have remained the same for so long, there are still changes that happen to our eyes in a much smaller, more tangible time-scale that have an immediate impact on our quality of life.



Often starting in the early 40s, many people start to experience problems seeing clearly at close distances. This can especially be the case when reading or using a smart phone/tablet. This is considered to be one of the most common sight-related issues that adults experience, which is called presbyopia – the Greek word for ‘Old Eye’!

This change in the eye’s focusing ability is normal and will continue to progress over time.

Watch: American Academy of Ophthalmology explain Presbyopia

At the start of presbyopia, you might find that you need to hold your newspaper or book further away from you to see it clearly. Reading can also become quite difficult in low-light conditions. You may find that an immediate solution to presbyopia could be wearing glasses with multifocal lenses.


What to Look Out For

Some common symptoms of presbyopia:
  • Increased Need For light – Reading in low light conditions can be difficult and words appear to be blurred.
  • Difficulty Reading – Printed materials can become less clear, which can be due to the lens in your eye becomes less flexible over time.
  • Glare When Driving – when you’re driving, do you notice glare when an oncoming car’s lights approach you? This could be due to the changes that are occurring in the lenses of your eye, which cause the light to be scattered rather than focused.
  • Irritated Eyes – As we age, we produce less tears, which often leads to dry and irritated eyes. Tears are an integral part of keeping your eye healthy.
  • Colour Perception – The clear lens inside your eye may begin to discolour, which distinguishing between certain colours and shades more difficult.


What Can We Do?

While Presbyopia can’t be prevented, there are now options available to most people to regain clear and comfortable near vision. If you find that you have presbyopia some of these options are: wearing glasses with multifocal lenses, bifocal or mono vision contact lenses and refractive surgery procedures.

As presbyopia is a normal part of the ageing process, you may notice that as you get older you need to update your glass or lens prescription more regularly. Around the age of 60, the changes in your near vision should become a lot less frequent.

At Cathedral Eye Clinic we not only search for the best technology to help people over the age of 40 see better, we also help companies to research to design better lenses.

Using the latest technology from the USA we have recently helped one senior Irish tennis player to regain and fine tune her skills after several years of struggling with a loss of ability to see clearly close up.

If you are also starting to have difficulty with close vision, Professor Moore and his team of highly trained and experienced clinicians will assess your eyes and determine a bespoke treatment which fits your individual needs and suits your eyes.


To find out more and request a consultation, click the button below or visit


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