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What is Presbyopia?

When you reach your 40s, you may begin to notice that you have some trouble with reading. Seeing things that are up close is an age related function of your vision which becomes weaker as you become older. But why is this so? With age, your eye’s lens is likely to become more and more inflexible, decreasing your ability to focus on handheld objects. This is called presbyopia.

Often, to avoid having to strain their eyes, people with undiagnosed presbyopia tend to hold books, magazines, newspapers, and menus at arm’s length to be able to focus properly. Performing other tasks at close range, for example, sewing or handwriting, may also result in headaches, eyestrain or fatigue. When it comes to rectifying the symptoms of presbyopia, it’s comforting to know that there are a number of options, which take your eyewear preferences into account.

An oft-used solution is reading glasses, though these are generally most efficient for those who wear contacts or for people who don’t already wear glasses for problems with distance vision. These are readily available, but it is not recommended to purchase them before you’ve seen the results of a comprehensive visual examination. Lots of people aren’t aware that reading glasses may be handy for short periods of reading but they can eventually result in fatigue when used for long stretches of time. Custom made readers are generally a more helpful solution. They can also fix astigmatism, accommodate prescriptions which are not necessarily the same in both eyes, and on top of that, the optic centers of the lenses can be adjusted to meet the needs of whoever is wearing them. The reading distance can be adjusted to meet the individual’s needs.

And for those who already wear glasses, but would rather just wear one pair of glasses at a time, consider bifocal or multi-focal corrective lenses, or PALs (progressive addition lenses), which a lot of people find really easy to wear. PALs and multi-focals are glasses with more than one point of focus, and the lower part of the lens is where there is a prescription that helps you focus at close range. If you already wear contacts, it’s best to talk to your optometrist to find out about multifocal contact lenses. There’s also a treatment approach which is called monovision. Monovision is when each eye wears a different kind of lens; one addressing distance vision and one for close vision.

Because your eyesight continues to change as you grow older, you should expect your prescription to increase periodically. However, it’s also important to understand all the options before deciding what’s best for your vision; presbyopia can affect you, even if you’ve had refractive surgery in the past.

Ask your eye care professional for an unbiased opinion. Sight changes as you age and we think it’s important that you deal with that in the way that’s best for you.