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Changes: Managing Presbyopia

When you reach your mid-to-late forties, you might begin to experience difficulty with reading. This is why: Because as you age, your eye's lens becomes less flexible, decreasing your ability to focus on handheld objects. This is known as presbyopia. And it's universal.

Those with undiagnosed presbyopia may hold books, magazines, newspapers, and menus at arm's length in order to focus properly. Performing other close-range tasks, such as sewing or writing, can also lead to eyestrain. If you want to deal with presbyopia, you have a number of alternatives available, regardless of whether you wear eyeglasses and contact lenses.

A common aid is reading glasses, though these are only useful for contact lens wearers or for people who don't wear glasses for distance vision. These are readily available, but it's best not to get a pair until you have been examined by your optometrist. The reason for this is that reading glasses may help for short periods of reading but they can cause fatigue when people wear them for a long time. Not surprisingly, custom-made reading glasses are a far better solution. They can do a number of things, like correct astigmatism, comfortably accommodate prescriptions which are not the same in both eyes, and on top of that, the optic centers of the lenses can be specially made to meet the needs of the person who wears them. The reading distance can be adjusted to meet the individual's needs.

If you already have glasses, consider bifocal or multi-focal corrective lenses, or PALs (progressive addition lenses), which are very popular. PALs and multi-focals are glasses with multiple points of focus, and the lower part of the lens is where there is a prescription to give you the ability to focus at close range. Contact lens wearers should speak to their eye care specialist to discuss multifocal contact lenses. Additionally, you might want to consider a treatment technique which is called monovision, where each eye is fitted with a different kind of lens; one addressing distance vision and one for close vision.

It's important to note that you'll have to periodically adjust your prescriptions, because eyes slowly change as you get older, especially after middle age. But it's also necessary to look into all the options before you choose the direction you want head in when it comes to your vision; presbyopia can affect you, even if you've had refractive surgery.

We recommend you speak to your optometrist for an unbiased perspective. Sight changes as you get older and we want to help you deal with your vision in the way that's most helpful and beneficial to you.