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Changes: Managing Presbyopia

Ever wonder why people around 50 usually wear reading glasses? With age, the lens of your eye grows increasingly inflexible, decreasing your ability to focus on handheld objects. The clinical term for this is presbyopia. And it's universal.

People with untreated presbyopia may hold reading material at arm's length to be able to focus properly. Performing other tasks at close range, for example, sewing or handwriting, could also result in eyestrain and discomfort in those who have developed presbyopia. In order to treat presbyopia, it's important to know that there are several solutions, regardless of whether you are a glasses or contact lens wearer.

A common aid is reading glasses, though these are mostly useful for those who wear contacts or for people who don't need glasses for distance vision. These are readily available, but it's better not to buy a pair before you've seen the results of a proper visual examination. Too often ''over-the-counter'' reading glasses may be handy for brief periods of reading but they can eventually lead to fatigue when people wear them for a long time.

If you don't want to switch between pairs of glasses, think about bifocal or multi-focal corrective lenses, or PALs (progressive addition lenses), which are very popular. Essentially, these are glasses that have more than one point of focus, and the lower part of the lens contains a prescription to help you focus on things right in front of you. If you already wear contacts, it's worthwhile to speak to your eye care professional to find out about multifocal contact lenses. There's also a treatment approach known as monovision, where one eye wears a lens for distance vision and one eye wears a lens for close vision.

Due to the fact that your vision continues to change as you grow older, you should expect your prescription to increase periodically. Presbyopia can affect people even after refractive surgery, so it is it's worthwhile to take the time to find out about all the options before making decisions about your vision care.

We recommend you speak to your eye doctor for an unbiased perspective. We can give you the tools to help you deal with presbyopia and your changing vision in a way that is best for you.