Have you gone your whole life without ever needing to wear eyeglasses or contact lenses but are now experiencing problems reading small print or focusing on nearby objects? Do you find yourself having to stretch your arms in front of your face to read your morning newspaper? Is it hard for you to read a menu in a restaurant with dim lighting? These symptoms can be aggravating and maybe even a little bit frightening, but don’t fret too much because you are not alone.
The technical term for this condition is called presbyopia. Presbyopia, like wrinkles and gray hair, is thought to be caused by aging. In fact, the word presbyopia originates from the Greek word presbys, which means elder and the ancient Greek word ops, meaning eye. While the exact mechanisms that cause presbyopia are not yet fully understood, doctors and scientists believe that it is caused by the loss of elasticity of the eye’s crystalline lens. Changes in the lens’ curvature, which are caused by the continued growth and weakening of the muscle that bends and straightens the lens, have also been looked at as a major cause.
The initial signs of presbyopia include: difficulty seeing or reading in dim or low lighting, eyestrain and headaches when reading for long periods of time, problems focusing on and / or reading small print, and experiencing blurred vision when transitioning between different viewing distances, such as from the television to a book or newspaper. Most people begin to notice these symptoms between the ages of forty and fifty, but they can be felt even sooner.
It is extremely important to pay attention to any vision changes you may be experiencing. While it can be easy to brush your symptoms off as just getting old, having specific information about your vision problems can help your optometrist work up a diagnosis and find a solution to them. There are, in fact, a variety of different ways to treat presbyopia, even for people who prefer to wear contact lenses.
Corrective eyeglasses are the easiest way to battle the effects of presbyopia. Bifocal and multifocal eyeglass lenses are popular among people with presbyopia because they eliminate the need for an additional pair of reading glasses on top of the glasses people may need to correct other vision problems, such as near-sightedness. Technology has made it possible for eyeglasses to accommodate two or more prescriptions on one lens, and the lenses can be made without the distracting lines. These are known as progressive lenses. You can also purchase over the counter reading glasses if you do not have any additional vision problems for which you need corrective lenses.
You may be one of the millions of people with presbyopia and an additional vision issue who prefers to wear contact lenses. Lucky for you, there are many brands of contact lenses that accommodate multiple prescriptions. These special bifocal and multifocal contact lenses are made with two or more prescriptions in each lens. Contact lenses for presbyopia are available in either alternating vision or simultaneous vision designs. The alternating, or translating, lenses are made with a split-lens design, which means there is a separation between the two prescriptions that has an obvious line between the top and bottom of the lens. The simultaneous lenses require your eye to look through both prescriptions at the same time. Your eye is able to select the correct power for the given situation.
It is natural to be worried when you start to notice that your eyesight isn’t what it used to be, but you can rest easy knowing that this natural change in your vision can be pretty easy to correct. Make sure to pay attention to your vision changes, and make an appointment with your optometrist to go over your concerns, update your prescriptions, and discuss your options.0