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Focusing on Presbyopia

Ever wonder why even those who never had glasses have a hard time seeing things up close when they reach middle age? With age, the lens of your eye is likely to become more rigid, decreasing your ability to focus on close objects. This is called presbyopia. And it's universal.

Those with undiagnosed presbyopia tend to hold printed text at arm's length to be able to focus properly. Additionally, performing other close-range activities, such as sewing or handwriting, can also result in headaches, eyestrain or fatigue. In order to treat presbyopia, you have a number of alternatives, whether you currently wear glasses, contacts or nothing at all.

Reading glasses are generally most useful for contact lens wearers or for people who don't already wear glasses for problems with distance vision. These are readily available, but it is not recommended to get them until you have the advice of your eye care professional. Lots of people don't know that reading glasses may help for brief blocks of reading time but they can cause fatigue with prolonged use. Custom made readers are often a more helpful solution. These can also rectify astigmatism, comfortably accommodate prescriptions that vary between the two eyes, and, the optic centers of every lens are adjusted to meet the needs of the wearer. The reading distance can be adjusted to meet the individual's needs.

And if you're already wearing glasses to address problems with near sightedness, and don't want to switch back and forth between different pairs of glasses, consider bifocal or multi-focal corrective lenses, or PALs (progressive addition lenses), which a lot of people respond really well to. Essentially, these are glasses that have more than one point of focus, and the lower part of the lens is where there is a prescription to help you focus on things right in front of you. If you already wear contacts, it's worthwhile to talk to your eye care professional to discuss multifocal contact lenses. Additionally, you may be able to benefit from a treatment technique called monovision, where one eye wears a lens for distance vision and one eye wears a lens for close vision.

It's important to note that you'll need to periodically adjust the strength of your lenses, because your eyes and vision slowly change over time. Presbyopia is seen in older individuals even after refractive surgery, so it is important to understand all the options before making decisions about your vision care.

It's best to speak to your eye care professional for an unbiased opinion. We can give you the tools to help you deal with presbyopia and your changing eye sight in a way that's both beneficial and accessible.


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