Presbyopia is the inability of the eyes to actively focus on nearby objects. This gradual loss or distortion in the near-sighted vision is common as a person ages and becomes most noticeable in the early to mid-40s. It typically worsens at age 65 and older. The lenses in the eyes normally have the ability to expand or contract as needed to focus. Presbyopia occurs as the lenses in older eyes lose their elasticity, or flexibility, and become slightly thicker. It also weakens the muscles around the lenses, which can further contribute to blurry vision.

Presbyopia is not a serious condition, but it can be frustrating. It sometimes is referred to as "long-arm syndrome" because it prompts people to hold reading materials such as books or restaurant menus farther away from the eyes to improve focus. An eye exam can test the refractive power of the eyes (or ability to change focus), acuity (or sharpness of vision), and the condition of the retina and eye muscles. Prescription lenses or over-the-counter reading glasses can help improve focus.


UAB Ophthalmology has more than 25 physicians, many of them named among the top doctors in their fields nationally. They are renowned for their advances in eye care, breaking through old ways of treating blinding eye diseases and revolutionizing many areas of ophthalmology.

Ophthalmology care at UAB is located in UAB Callahan Eye Hospital, one of the busiest eye hospitals in the country, where specialists work together to treat complex cases. The UAB Callahan Eye Hospital surgical suite houses nine operating rooms dedicated to eye surgery as well as a 24/7 Eye emergency room, which is the region’s only Level I Ocular Trauma Center. More than 11,000 surgeries are performed at UAB Callahan Eye Hospital each year, and we conduct more reconstructive eye surgeries than any other facility in the world. Patients come from around the nation to be treated for eye conditions at UAB.

The UAB Center for Low Vision Rehabilitation works with patients to maximize vision and provides services such as orientation and mobility, occupational therapy, and support groups for patients dealing with vision loss or impairment.

Through ongoing research and clinical trials, UAB continues to make great strides in the field of ophthalmology. In addition to our physicians, we have a team of vision scientists who are fully dedicated to researching causes, preventions, and cures for eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and macular degeneration. Many UAB ophthalmologists have received funding from prestigious research organizations and institutions and collaborate in clinical care to deliver the latest in scientific discovery to our patients.





UAB is an active participant in research and clinical trials for the diagnosis and treatment of presbyopia. We encourage you to speak to your physician about research and clinical trial options and browse the link below for more information.

View Clinical Trials