As you reach your 40s, you may begin to find that you have trouble with reading. Being able to see clearly things that are up close is a visual function that weakens as you age. Why? Because as you age, the lens of your eye is likely to become more rigid, which makes it less able to focus on handheld objects. The clinical term for this is presbyopia. And it’s universal.
In an effort to prevent having to strain their eyes, people with untreated presbyopia may hold printed text at arm’s length in order to focus properly. Additionally, performing other close-range activities, for example, embroidery or handwriting, may also cause headaches, eyestrain or fatigue. In order to treat presbyopia, it’s comforting to know that there are a few solutions, which take your eyewear preferences into account.
A common solution is reading glasses, though these are mostly useful for contact lens wearers or for people who don’t wear glasses for distance vision. These are readily available, but you shouldn’t get them until you have spoken with your eye care professional. This is because reading glasses may be helpful for brief periods of reading but they can eventually result in fatigue with extended use.
And if you’re already wearing glasses to address problems with distance vision, and would rather not have to wear multiple pairs, consider bifocal or multi-focal corrective lenses, or the popular progressive addition lenses (PALs). PALs and multi-focals are glasses that have separate points of focus, and the lower part of the lens contains a prescription to help you focus at close range. Contact lens wearers should speak to their eye care specialist to discuss multifocal contact lenses. Additionally, you may be able to benefit from a treatment approach which is called monovision, where each eye is fitted with a different kind of lens; one for distance vision and one for close vision.
You need to periodically adjust the strength of your lenses, because your eyes and vision slowly change over time. However, it’s also important to research your options before deciding what’s best for your vision; you can be susceptible to presbyopia, even if you’ve had refractive surgery.
It’s best to speak to your eye care professional for a helpful view on the matter. Presbyopia is a part of aging, but the choices you make about it is in your hands.