Presby-What? New Alcon Surveys Show People Have Fuzzy Understanding of Presbyopia

It’s Presbyopia Awareness Month and Alcon, the global leader in eye care is on a mission to educate consumers about a condition that is expected to impact 123 million U.S. residents by 20201. Presbyopia – the inability of the eye to focus on things up close – is a natural part of aging that usually happens around age 40[i],[ii]. However, new survey findings from Alcon show this common condition has a name people often do not recognize, symptoms they do not understand, and a lack of knowledge of vision correction options other than reading glasses that many see as inconvenient.

“Patients often end up in my office, panicked, because they’ve experienced sudden vision changes or are frustrated with their newfound dependence on reading glasses after age 40,” said Dr. Susan Resnick, New York-based optometrist and Diplomate of the American Board of Optometry. “While they don’t often know the name of what’s happening, they are relieved to learn they’re not alone. They are then open to discussing available correction options including Alcon’s DAILIES TOTAL1® Multifocal contact lenses that can help them see near, far and in between.”


This month, Alcon is launching Project Presbyopia, an ongoing effort to educate consumers about how to recognize signs and symptoms of vision changes that occur after age 40, uncover more intuitive language for the condition, and motivate existing and emerging presbyopes to visit an Eye Care Professional to explore solutions including multifocal contact lenses. The initiative is inspired by crowd-sourced findings and surveys of presbyopes and ECPs that uncovered the name “presbyopia” isn’t the only point of confusion for consumers.

Highlights from the survey findings:

  • The eye doctors surveyed report that most of their patients don’t understand what the word presbyopia means (92 percent) and some ECPs either avoid using the term altogether (39 percent) or use it along with other descriptive words when explaining the condition to patients (59 percent)[iii].
  • While nearly half of the consumers surveyed (46 percent) say they just cope with their presbyopia and use different methods to help them see, about two-thirds (67 percent) want to stop adjusting their lives around their vision as it relates to their reading glasses[iv].
  • A majority of presbyopes surveyed (97 percent) are familiar with reading glasses as the leading correction for presbyopia4. But, according to eye doctors, 65 percent of their patients were disappointed to consider wearing reading glasses when learning they have the condition3.
  • Every consumer surveyed owned at least one pair of reading glasses, with those who own the most pairs (11+ pairs) misplacing or losing them 45 percent of the time4.
  • Once becoming aware of multifocal contact lenses, just over half (59 percent) of presbyopes surveyed said they are extremely likely or very likely to make an appointment with their doctor to discuss multifocal contact lenses4.

“Presbyopia is one of the most common vision conditions associated with aging, yet understanding and conveniently addressing it remains a blind spot for consumers,” said Sergio Duplan, North America Region President, Alcon. “At Alcon, we take seriously our commitment to helping people see, look and feel their best. Project Presbyopia is yet another example of how we are educating patients before they visit their eye doctor while also providing ECPs with multifocal contact lens technologies to meet their patient and practice needs.”

Alcon will reach consumers and ECPs with content designed to help close the awareness gap, including:

  • Video content testing everyday people’s knowledge of presbyopia, its pronunciation, meaning and solutions, as well as suggestions for renaming the condition to make it easier to understand
  • 40th Birthday e-Card to help ECPs creatively engage their patients at the outset of symptoms in a conversation around the condition
  • A partnership with Dr. Susan Resnick,* who will make media appearances to encourage people 40+ to speak with their doctors about multifocal contact lens options


About the Alcon Surveys  

Alcon partnered with cSpace in October 2018 to field a survey of 501 men and women with presbyopia living in the United States. The objective was to better understand their awareness of the condition, experience with vision changes as they age, use of accommodating behaviors, willingness to see their doctor for help, and knowledge of and use of vision correction devices like contact lenses as an alternative to reading glasses. In addition, Alcon partnered with trade media publication, Optometry Times, in March 2019 to conduct a survey of 143 Eye Care Professionals to get their perspective on patients’ awareness and understanding of presbyopia, how patients react to their diagnosis and the language both ECPs and patients use to describe the condition and its symptoms.


About Alcon 

Alcon is the global leader in eye care offering a broad portfolio of products to enhance sight and improve people’s lives. Alcon products touch the lives of more than 260 million people each year living with conditions like cataracts, glaucoma, retinal diseases and refractive errors, and there are millions more who are waiting for solutions to meet their eye care needs. Alcon is reimagining eye care, and we do this through innovative products, partnerships with Eye Care Professionals and programs that enhance access to quality eye care. Learn more at


*Dr. Susan Resnick is a paid spokesperson for Alcon.

[i] American Optometric Association. Presbyopia. Accessed March 2019

[ii] American Optometric Association. Presbyopia. Accessed March 2019.

[iii] Survey of 143 ECPs on Presbyopia, Alcon and Optometry Times Research. March 2019.

[iv] Survey of 501 Presbyopes, Alcon and cSpace Research. October 2018.


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