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Struggling to read? How your eyesight changes after 40

Do you find the veg you’re chopping for tea doesn’t look completely clear? Do you find you’re struggling to read?

Man struggling to read

Decreasing ability to focus on objects close-by as we get older is called Presbyopia.

Don’t worry, Presbyopia is nothing to be concerned about; it is a perfectly normal visual change we will all experience with age. Most people start to notice they are struggling to read close objects from 40 onwards.

The eye’s ability to focus on close objects is called Accommodation. Behind each of your pupils is a lens held in place by muscles which pull your lens into shape so you can focus on what you are looking at.

As we age the lens hardens so it’s more work for your eye muscles and focusing on close objects becomes harder. If you notice yourself holding things further away, it has started. The limit to this strategy is when your arms aren’t long enough to focus (trust me, everyone has been there!)

There isn’t a ‘cure’ for presbyopia, the solution is for the Optician to prescribe reading glasses (or contact lenses).

“But I don’t want glasses all the time”

Usually you will only need glasses to see close objects in detail.

Won’t glasses make my eyes worse?

It’s a common myth, but the short answer is no. 

As the lens in your eye hardens with age, it’s increasingly hard work for your muscles to pull it into shape so you can focus on what you’re looking at. Your new glasses will help. Your eye muscles won’t have to work so hard, so they can relax. This is great if you suffer from headaches and eye strain. 

Given their relaxed state, it’s a bit of a surprise to them when you take your glasses off, so you may feel your vision is a little more blurred in that moment. But your muscles soon return to working hard for you. 

I’m not sure I’ll look good in glasses, what else can I do?

There are alternatives to glasses. Depending on your prescription you may be able to wear contact lenses instead.

Whichever you decide, I’m always here to help guide you through the options available and design the best solution for you, so you not only look good, but can see again too!
You can get in touch with me here.