No matter who you are, it’s difficult to escape changes in your eyesight as you get older. Around age 40, most people experience blurred vision when they’re reading or sitting at the computer. This condition is called presbyopia, and it’s caused by the gradual loss of flexibility and elasticity in your eye’s natural lens. It’s important to remember that this change is normal and natural, and there are many different options for helping you keep presbyopia from having too much of an impact on your daily life. People who have never had vision problems before can suddenly find themselves immersed in the world of glasses, contact lenses, and corrective surgeries. How do you decide what works for you? Before you visit an optometrist, it’s easy to research what’s out there.
1. Eyesight and Aging: What’s Normal?
While presbyopia is not an illness, you need to understand your symptoms in order to distinguish normal changes in your vision from actual serious diseases like glaucoma, cataracts, or diabetes. Presbyopia is simply the blurring of small print or close objects, at at most you will suffer the occasional headache or tiredness that comes with straining your eyes. Seeing tiny specks in your vision, called floaters, is also a normal part of aging. In addition, many women suffer from dryer eyes during and after menopause and might need to use eye drops more frequently. None of these symptoms is cause for alarm. But presbyopia does not cause dimming of your vision, fluids in the eye, pain, or swelling. These symptoms can be evidence of a larger problem, especially if you have diabetes or a family history of diabetes, and you should see a doctor.
2. Options for Glasses and Contact Lenses
Of course, the most common treatment for presbyopia are bifocals, or reading glasses, which can suit many middle-aged and elderly people very well for decades. If your vision is more impaired, you can opt for trifocal lenses or use vision accessories like magnifiers to help you read important documents, like at the office. Many people who have significant problems with presbyopia prefer multifocal contact lenses instead of dealing with the hassle of wearing glasses. While traditional contact lenses are usually geared to either nearsighted or farsighted people, multifocal lenses allow you to see clearly at all distances. They’re a good option for people who were already nearsighted and now have to cope with pre-symbiotic vision on top of that. The right multifocal lens can correct your sight on all levels.
3. Surgery for Presbyopia
Even if you had LASIK performed for vision correction before age 40, you will likely suffer the effects of presbyopia. The condition cannot be cured with traditional laser surgery, but there are plenty of technological advances that are introducing new ways to deal with presbyopic vision. Most of these surgeries involve replacing the eye’s natural lens with an artificial one. Sometimes doctors can use mono-vision – allowing one eye to be corrected for close-up sight and the other to be corrected for distances, so your eyes have to work together as a team. According to the Hudson Valley Optometric Society, many procedures are not yet available in the United States, including corneal implants that would function as built-in contact lenses. But there are exciting things coming.
There are many annoying things about growing older that everyone learns to adjust to, and changes in your vision are just one of them. It’s definitely not an abnormal condition, but the health of your eyes is not something to take lightly. Develop a strong relationship with your eye doctor early on and you won’t feel overwhelmed with this new aspect of your life. It’s far from impossible to keep seeing clearly well into your golden years.
Writer Marilyn Baur is an avid blogger. Have questions about contacts? Check out the online info from seeside in Germany.