What is presbyopia? Presbyopia literally means ‘ageing sight’. When we read or look at something close, the flexible lens of our eye changes shape to provide the close focus required. However, as we age, the lens becomes less flexible and harder, effectively losing the ability to change shape over the progression of time. This inevitable loss of flexibility is called presbyopia and causes near vision to be blurred. Presbyopia is a natural part of ageing and a gradual process that usually begins at around 40 years of age. As a result, almost everyone over the age of 45 needs vision correction for reading and other close work. Presbyopia is the most widespread ocular problem in the world. There are currently over 1 billion people with presbyopia. By the year 2010, approximately 44% of the Australian population will be in the presbyopic age bracket, meaning almost 10 million people will be affected. It can be corrected with reading spectacles, bifocal or multifocal spectacles, and contact lenses.