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Changes: Managing Presbyopia

As much as we wish it weren't so, experiencing difficulty with reading is a common occurrence in middle age. Having the ability to see things that are up close is an age related function of your vision which gets weaker as you become older. This is why: Because as you age, the lens of your eye becomes more rigid, which makes it harder to focus on near objects. That, in a nutshell, is presbyopia. And it's universal.

People with untreated presbyopia may hold printed text at arm's length in order to focus properly. In addition to reading, carrying out other close-range tasks, like sewing or handwriting, can also cause eyestrain in those suffering from presbyopia. In order to treat presbyopia, you have several alternatives, whether you are a glasses or contact lens wearer.

Reading glasses are good but are generally most useful for those who wear contacts or for people who don't need glasses for correcting distance vision. You can find these glasses basically anywhere, but it's best not to buy them before you've seen the results of a full eye examination. The reason for this is that reading glasses may help for short blocks of reading time but they can cause fatigue when people overwear them.

If you already wear glasses, think about bifocal or multi-focal corrective lenses, or PALs (progressive addition lenses), which are very popular. Essentially, these are eyeglasses that have separate points of focus, and the lower part of the lens contains a prescription to help you focus on things right in front of you. If you already wear contacts, it's recommended to speak to your optometrist to discuss multifocal contact lenses. Additionally, you should 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.

Plan to periodically adjust your prescriptions, because eyes change with age. Presbyopia still affects older individuals even after refractive surgery, so it is important to understand all the options before making decisions about your vision care.

Ask your eye doctor for an unbiased perspective. Sight does not stay the same as you reach middle age and we want to keep you informed so you deal with it in the best way possible.