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Presbyopia: Managing the Inevitable

Having challenges with reading is a commonly occurring problem if you're close to middle age. Why does this happen? As time passes, your eye's lens becomes more rigid, decreasing your ability to focus on close objects. That, in a nutshell, is presbyopia.

Those with undiagnosed presbyopia tend to hold reading material at arm's length to be able to focus properly. In addition to reading, performing other close-range tasks, such as crafts or handwriting, may also cause headaches, eyestrain or fatigue. When it comes to correcting presbyopia, it is important to know that there are a few options available, which take your eyewear preferences into account.

Reading glasses are generally most efficient for contact lens wearers or for people who don't already need glasses for problems with distance vision. You can find these glasses at lots of stores, but it is not recommended to buy a pair before you've had a proper eye exam. Too often ''over-the-counter'' reading glasses may help for brief blocks of reading time but they can eventually lead to eyestrain when used for a long time. A superior alternative to drugstore reading glasses are custom made ones. They can do a number of things, like correct astigmatism, compensate for prescriptions which are not necessarily the same in both eyes, and furthermore, the optic centers of the lenses can be specially made to meet the needs of whoever is wearing them. The reading distance is another detail that can be designed to suit your unique needs.

If you already wear glasses for near sightedness, consider bifocal or multi-focal corrective lenses, or the popular progressive addition lenses (PALs). PALs and multi-focals are glasses with separate points of focus; the bottom part has the prescription for seeing text and tasks at close distances. If you wear contacts, speak to us to discuss multifocal contact lenses. Additionally, you might want to consider a treatment technique called monovision, where each eye is fitted with a different kind of lens; one addressing distance vision and one for close vision.

You need to routinely check and possibly adjust your prescriptions, because eyes change with age. Presbyopia is seen in people 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 vision in a way that is best for you.