Shifting the Perspective: Presbyopia and Patient Needs in the Modern Age

This post is sponsored by Allergan, an AbbVie company
May 10, 2021
4 min read

Out of the world population of 8.5 billion, approximately 1.8 billion people have presbyopia. There are 128 million presbyopes in the United States alone.2

People are also spending more time than ever in front of screens. Americans spend more than 11 hours/day interacting with digital media.3 Studies show adults check their phones 96 times a day, or once every 10 minutes.4

It’s very important to consider the patient’s perspective when dealing with presbyopia. Presbyopia is very common to us, so we often don't really think about the impact and uncertainty our patients face when they wake up, and all of a sudden they have difficulty seeing up close. Even once they learn it isn’t a medical emergency, presbyopia can cause real emotional stress for patients.5 For some, it can consume their entire day. From difficulty seeing their makeup to not knowing which bottle in the shower is shampoo, to not being able to read a jar in the grocery store.—this can cause immense frustration and distress. A survey by Allergan of 800 patients between the age of 40 and 55 showed that 96% felt somewhat impacted by presbyopia and 46% extremely impacted.5

Presbyopes are Seeking Help

Market research also showed 90% of patients were frustrated or irritated with their presbyopia.5 Patients can be quite creative in their workarounds to fix their problem—from using various OTC readers strewn around to just ordering the same item at restaurants because they can’t see the menu.5 They may even have a pair of prescription readers that work really well, but many are still unsatisfied with their current treatment option.5 Other options of course include contact lenses, kerato-refractive surgery, multifocal IOLs, and corneal inlays.1

According to a survey of 1339 patients, the majority of presbyopes are seeking help, and we’re not listening well. 62% of presbyopes saw an eye care practitioner within the last year, and 80% of these patients asked about their near vision symptoms.5 Only half received any information with the doctor counseling them about their condition and discussing their options, and even fewer were given any educational material to take home.5

Patients are asking for this information, but there is a disconnect between what they are saying and what we are hearing. And that’s just with those who have come to see us! How many presbyopes don't seek eyecare or a treatment plan to their problems? How many of them have glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, or other treatable ocular diseases? If we could drive these patients into our clinics, we would be able to manage their other conditions earlier and possibly achieve better outcomes.

Better Engagement Now Can Mean Better Outcomes Later

This presbyopic revolution is going to bring people into our offices. We have a changing population increasingly dependent upon digital media and this population has all kinds of near vision needs. Visual acuity is only one aspect that contributes to patient satisfaction.

The more we are able to educate our patients about their options, the more engaged they will be in the eye care process, and the better off they will be in the long run.


  1. Chuck RS, Jacobs DS, Lee JK, Afshari NA, Vitale S, Keenan JD. Refractive Errors & Refractive Surgery PPP - 2017. American Academy of Ophthalmology. Published July 9, 2018.
  2. Timothy R. Fricke, MSc. Nina Tahhan, PhD. Serge Resnikoff, MD. Eric Papas. Anthea Burnett. Suit May Ho. Thomas Naduvilath. Kovin S. Naidoo. Global Prevalence of Presbyopia and VisionImpairment from Uncorrected Presbyopia. American Academy of Ophthalmology. Published May 9, 2018.
  3. The Nielsen Total Audience Report: Q1 2018. Nielsen. Published July 31, 2018.
  4. Fottrell Q. People Spend Most of Their Waking Hours Staring at Screens. MarketWatch. Published August 4, 2018.
  5. Data on File, Allergan.

UNB145383 04/21

About Sathi Maiti, OD

Sathi Maiti, OD is an ocular surface disease fellow at the Periman Eye Institute and primary care optometrist in Seattle, WA. She is a sub-investigator of a number of clinical trials related to dry eye and ocular surface disease. She …

Free CE