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Changes: Managing Presbyopia

Ever wonder why people around 50 need to wear reading glasses? Because as you age, the lens of your eye becomes less flexible, making it challenging to focus on near objects. We call this presbyopia.

People with untreated presbyopia may hold books, magazines, newspapers, and menus at arm’s length in order to focus properly. Performing other tasks at close range, such as crafts or handwriting, can also cause eyestrain and discomfort in those who have developed presbyopia. When it comes to correcting presbyopia, there are a few alternatives, whether you are a glasses or contact lens wearer.

The thing with reading glasses is that they are mostly useful for contact lens wearers or for people who don’t already need glasses for problems with distance vision. You can purchase these basically anywhere, but it’s best not to get a pair before you’ve had a comprehensive eye exam. Too often simple reading glasses may help for brief periods of time but they can eventually result in eyestrain when worn for a long time.

If you 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 eyeglasses with separate points of focus; the lower part has the prescription for seeing at close range. Contact lens wearers should speak to their eye care specialist to find out about multifocal contact lenses, or a treatment technique called monovision. Monovision is when one eye wears a lens for distance vision and one eye wears a lens for close vision.

Since your vision continues to change as you grow older, it’s fair to anticipate adjusting your prescription periodically. But it’s also crucial to understand your options before you decide the direction you want head in when it comes to your vision; you can be susceptible to presbyopia, even if you’ve had refractive surgery in the past.

It’s best to speak to your eye care professional for an informed view on the matter. Presbyopia is a part of middle age, but the decisions you make regarding it is in your hands.

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