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Presbyopia: The Facts

Ever wonder why many people around 50 need to wear reading glasses? Because as you age, your eye's lens becomes increasingly inflexible, which makes it less able to focus on near objects. The clinical term for this is presbyopia.

To avoid eyestrain, people with untreated presbyopia tend to hold books, magazines, newspapers, and menus at arm's length to be able to focus properly. Performing other tasks at close range, such as embroidery or writing, could also lead to headaches, eyestrain or fatigue in individuals who have developed this condition. If you want to deal with presbyopia, it's reassuring to know that there are a number of solutions, which take your eyewear preferences into account.

One of the most popular choices is reading glasses, though these are only useful for those who wear contacts or for people who don't already need glasses for issues with distance vision. You can find these at lots of shops, but it is not recommended to buy them until you have spoken with your optometrist. The reason for this is that reading glasses may help for brief periods of reading but they can eventually result in eyestrain with extended use. Not surprisingly, custom-made readers are a much more effective solution. They are able to rectify astigmatism, comfortably accommodate prescriptions that vary between the two eyes, and furthermore, the optic centers of every lens can be adjusted to meet the needs of the person who wears them. The reading distance can be adjusted to meet the individual's needs.

And if you're already wearing glasses to correct near sightedness, and would rather just use one pair of glasses at a time, consider bifocal or multi-focal corrective lenses, or PALs (progressive addition lenses), which are quite popular. Essentially, these are glasses that have separate points of focus; the bottom section helps you see things at close range. If you already wear contacts, it's recommended to speak to your eye care professional about multifocal contact lenses, or a treatment technique which is called monovision, where one eye wears a lens for distance vision and one eye wears a lens for close vision.

Because your vision continues to change as you grow older, it's fair to anticipate adjusting your prescription periodically. However, it's also important to research your options before making choices about your vision; presbyopia can affect you, even if you've had refractive surgery in the past.

Ask your eye care professional for a helpful view on the matter. Vision changes as you get older and we want to help you deal with that in the way that's best for you.

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