100% Optical

Presbyopia myths and mishaps discussed at 100% Optical

CooperVision’s Christina Olner used case studies to highlight common presbyopia myths and mistakes during a discussion workshop at the AOP Lounge


Christina Olner, optometrist and head of public affairs at CooperVision UK and Ireland, discussed the myths and mishaps that surround presbyopia during a discussion workshop at 100% Optical.

Olner used case studies to highlight her points, directing attendees to discuss how they would manage certain situations.

Scenarios posed included identifying the best choice of lens, managing expectations around visual acuity, and which assessments should be carried out before a multifocal lens is applied.

Olner also shared insight on how to raise the issue of presbyopia with patients before they develop symptoms, and how to manage expectations when a patient has dropped out of contact lens wear.

Here are some of the misconceptions that Olner’s session dispelled:

1 Optometrists never see presbyopes in practice

Olner explained that the idea that optometrists never see presbyopes in practice, and never will, is a common misconception – especially in light of the UK’s ageing population, where 44% of people are currently aged 45 or older.

25% of the global population, equating to 1.8 billion people, were already affected by presbyopia in 2015, she said, and this number is set to grow hugely by 2030 – so optometrists who are not seeing it in practice at the moment almost certainly will be in the future.

“We live modern lives. We have blurred vision needs, and we need to be in a position to be able to support those visual needs with appropriate correction,” she said.

2 Presbyopic patients are not interested in contact lenses

Olner cited a 2017 paper, which studied the vision correction of 500 patients and found that 67% of participants said that they would prefer contact lenses to their existing solution.

The paper emphasised that eye care professionals “should not assume that gender, refractive error or presbyopia should be assumed to be factors that would preclude a patient from being interested in contact lenses,” Olner said, adding: “Essentially, don't make assumptions.”

The study found that multifocal lenses were cited as the most common preference, she added, and that half of all patients would consider contact lenses when they require correction.

3 Perfect vision is required

Positive language should be used, with attention paid to the many positive aspects of multifocal contact lenses, Olner emphasised. She added that maintaining 80% distance vision is more than adequate for most people.

Read more news and insights from 100% Optical 2023 on OT’s dedicated page.