presbyopia conditioning

As with hyperopia, presbyopia is an inability to focus clearly on objects which are near to your eyes. But presbyopia is different from hyperopia in its physical condition.

Whereas hyperopic eyes are distorted through an incorrect shape of the eyeball, the presbyopic eyes actually retain a normal eye shape. The difficulty with presbyopic vision is found in the functioning of the focusing apparatus, specifically the ciliary muscles and the interior lens of the eyes.

The interior lens (as differentiated from the refractive functioning of the cornea) is surrounded by the ciliary muscle. This is a circular muscle which expands its inner diameter when it relaxes, and reduces its diameter when it contracts.

The ciliary muscle is connected to the periphery of the lens by fibers called zonules, which are suspensory ligaments which support the lens in position. When the ciliary muscle is relaxed outward, it pulls on the zonules and thus pulls the lens into a flattened shape, which is necessary for focusing in the distance.

When the ciliary muscle receives orders from the brain to contract, the pressure on the zonules is relieved and the lens assumes its inherent curved shape due to its natural elasticity. The difficulty called presbyopia develops when the lens begins to lose its natural elasticity, and fails to assume an adequately curved shape when the ciliary muscles contract for up-close vision.

So our question in approaching presbyopia is this: what causes the lens to lose its natural elasticity, gradually reducing the ability of the eye to focus up-close?

In considering preventative programs for postponing presbyopia, circulation and diet should play a vital role in helping to maintain optimum health of the cells within the lens.

Another factor which is often forgotten in the consideration of presbyopia, is the health and vitality of the ciliary muscle surrounding and controlling the shape of the lens. Like all muscles in our bodies, this muscle can be in good shape or in poor shape. And like the rest of our body, the ciliary muscle can age relatively early in life, or remain strong and vital to a very old age.

…in the next posts we will consider this condition from the alternative point of view.


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