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Presbyopia: The Facts

Having challenges with reading is a commonly occurring problem if you're hitting middle age. Being able to see things that are up close is a visual function that weakens as you age. Why does this happen? As time passes, the lens of your eye grows more rigid, decreasing your ability to focus on close objects. That, in a nutshell, is presbyopia. And it's universal.

Often, to avoid having to strain their eyes, people with undiagnosed presbyopia may hold books, magazines, newspapers, and menus at arm's length to be able to focus properly. Additionally, performing other close-range tasks, such as embroidery or writing, can also lead to eyestrain in those with this condition. If you want to deal with presbyopia, it's comforting to know that there are a few options available, which take your eyewear preferences into account.

Reading glasses are generally most useful for contact lens wearers or for those who don't need to wear glasses for correcting distance vision. Although reading glasses are readily available at pharmacies or drugstores, it's better not to buy a pair before you have had a full eye examination. The reason for this is that reading glasses may help for brief periods of reading but they can eventually cause fatigue when used for a long time. Custom made readers are often a more helpful solution. They can also rectify astigmatism, compensate for prescriptions which are not necessarily the same in both eyes, and in addition to all this, the optic centers of every lens can be specially made to fit whoever is wearing them. The reading distance can be adjusted to meet the individual's needs.

And for those who already have glasses, but would rather not have to keep track of more than one pair of glasses, consider bifocal or multi-focal corrective lenses, or PALs (progressive addition lenses), which a lot of people respond really well to. PALs and multi-focals are glasses that have separate points of focus; the lower section has the prescription for seeing text and tasks at close distances. If you already wear contacts, it's recommended to speak to your optometrist to discuss multifocal contact lenses, or a treatment approach called monovision, where one eye wears a lens for distance vision and one eye wears a lens for close vision.

Since your vision continues to change as time goes on, it's fair to anticipate adjusting your prescription periodically. Presbyopia still affects people even after refractive surgery, so it is it's worthwhile to take the time to find out about all the options before making decisions about your vision care.

It's best to speak to your eye care professional for a helpful perspective. We can help you deal with presbyopia and your changing eye sight in a way that's both beneficial and accessible.

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