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Presbyopia: Managing the Inevitable

Having a hard time seeing what you're reading is a commonly occurring problem if you're hitting middle age. Having the ability to see things that are up close is an age related function of your vision which becomes weaker as you become older. But why is this so? As time passes, the lens of your eye grows more rigid, decreasing your ability to focus on handheld objects. The clinical term for this is presbyopia. It's something that eventually happens to us all.

Often, to avoid eyestrain, people with undiagnosed presbyopia tend to hold printed text at arm's length to be able to focus properly. In addition to reading, other close-range activities, such as sewing or writing, may also lead to eyestrain and discomfort. In order to treat presbyopia, it's important to know that there are a number of alternatives available, regardless of whether you are a glasses or contact lens wearer.

Reading glasses are an easy choice but are generally most efficient for those who wear contacts or for those who don't need to wear glasses for distance vision. These are readily available, but it is not recommended to get a pair until you have been examined by your eye care professional. Those ''over-the-counter'' reading glasses may help for short periods of time but they can result in eyestrain when people wear them for a long time.

And if you're already wearing glasses to address problems with near sightedness, and don't want to switch between pairs of glasses, consider bifocal or multi-focal corrective lenses, or PALs (progressive addition lenses), which are very popular. PALs and multi-focals are glasses with multiple points of focus, and the lower part of the lens contains a prescription to help you focus at close range. If you wear contacts, speak to us about multifocal contact lenses, or a treatment approach known as monovision. Monovision is when one eye wears a lens for distance vision and one eye wears a lens for close vision.

Due to the fact that your vision changes with age, it's fair to anticipate adjusting your prescription periodically. However, it's also necessary to look into all the 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.

Ask your eye care professional for an unbiased perspective. Presbyopia is a reality of aging, but the choices you make about how to handle it is always up to you.