Understanding age-related vision changes

For most of us, aging brings wisdom and maturity, but, as it turns out, it also leads to age-related vision changes. For an adult over the age of 40, you’ve probably had moments where you hold your phone farther away to read, squint to see clearly or adjust the lighting to read small print menus or manuals.  Why does this happen? It’s likely due to presbyopia.

Today, we’ll shed light on what this is, as well as symptoms, causes, and available treatment options, so you can clearly understand this age-related vision change and what we can do to help you.

What is presbyopia?

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Vision changes with age, and one common eye problem related to this is presbyopia. This is a refractive error related to the lens becoming stiffer over time. The lens sits inside the eye behind the iris, and its shape is controlled by tiny muscles. These muscles weaken with age, making it harder for the lens to change shape to focus on close tasks.

For most, the early to mid-40s is when presbyopia starts. While chronological age is the most significant factor, additional lifestyle aspects such as diet, exercise, and certain medical conditions can also play a role. Interestingly, nearly 128 million adults in the United States grapple with presbyopia.

Navigating common symptoms of presbyopia

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As our eyes age, certain signs of presbyopia become increasingly apparent. This condition subtly integrates into our daily routines involving printed text, phone screens, and other close-up tasks like reading. Commonly experienced symptoms indicating signs of aging eyes include:

  • The gradual loss of ability to focus clearly on near objects.
  • The need to hold reading materials at arm’s length to bring them into focus.
  • Eyestrain, headaches, and fatigue following prolonged periods of close work.
  • The text gradually becomes more difficult to read in dim light.

Your path to clear vision

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When it comes to treating presbyopia, there are various options available.  From traditional reading glasses to multifocal contact lenses, each solution has its own set of advantages and considerations.

Reading glasses: The age-old solution for presbyopia, reading glasses provide a simple and effective means to sharpen near vision.

Bifocals and trifocals:  These blend two or more prescriptions into a single eyeglass lens, allowing for clearer vision at different distances. They are the perfect solution if you have more than one prescription, eliminating the need to switch between several pairs of glasses to accommodate different tasks. They often have a visible line in the lens to signify which portion is dedicated to distance and near vision.

Progressive lenses: Progressive lenses are often used as an alternative to bifocals and trifocals.  These lenses offer a gradual shift in lens power from distance to intermediate to near without the visible lines.

Monovision and multifocal contact lenses: Monovision contact lenses work by using one lens for close-up vision and another for distance correction. This system can be a great choice if you’d rather avoid wearing glasses, but keep in mind that it may take some time for your eyes and brain to adapt. On the other hand, multifocal contact lenses offer various focal powers in a single lens, catering to different distances for enhanced vision.

Master your age-related vision changes

If you’re over the age of 40 and notice difficulty reading small print,  it may be due to presbyopia.

Early detection is key in managing and treating most vision-related conditions. Don’t let presbyopia catch you off guard. Schedule an eye exam in Quincy, IL, today with our experienced and friendly doctors and take the first step towards enjoying better vision.

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