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Focusing on Presbyopia

When you hit your 40s, you might start to experience difficulty with reading. Here's why: Because as you age, your eye's lens grows less flexible, decreasing your ability to focus on handheld objects. This is known as presbyopia.

People with untreated presbyopia may hold books, magazines, newspapers, and menus at arm's length in order to focus properly. In addition to reading, engaging in other close-range tasks, for example, sewing or writing, can also result in headaches, eyestrain or fatigue in individuals who have developed this condition. If you are ready to deal with presbyopia, you have a few alternatives available, regardless of whether you wear eyeglasses and contact lenses.

A common aid is reading glasses, but these are mostly efficient for contact lens wearers or for people who don't already wear glasses for problems with distance vision. These are readily available, but you shouldn't purchase a pair until you have been examined by an eye care professional. Those simple reading glasses may be helpful for quick periods of reading but they can eventually lead to fatigue when people wear them for a long time.

If you already wear glasses for distance vision, consider bifocal or multi-focal corrective lenses, or the popular progressive addition lenses (PALs). PALs and multi-focals are eyeglasses that have separate points of focus; the bottom section has the prescription for seeing at close range. If you wear contacts, call us to discuss multifocal contact lenses. There's also a treatment approach known as monovision, where you wear one contact lens to correct near sightedness in one eye and another to correct far sightedness in the other eye.

But, you may have to routinely check your prescriptions, because your eyes and vision slowly change with age. But it's also crucial to examine your various choices before making choices about your vision; presbyopia can affect you, even if you've had refractive surgery.

We recommend you speak to your optometrist for an informed view on the matter. Presbyopia is an inevitability of middle age, but the decisions you make regarding it is in your hands.