Why Do We All Need Reading Glasses?

Almost every one of us will need to wear reading glasses at some point – it’s just a question of when. Here we examine why this is and look at the myths surrounding ‘presbyopia’, a condition that some people call long-sightedness. Plus, we reveal the range of treatments available.

What Is Presbyopia?

Presbyopia is the official name for a loss in near focus as we get older. It’s when things close-up like the words in books appear blurry – whilst the things far away can be seen clearly. This happens because the muscles inside your eye surrounding the lens contract to make your lens change shape, thus adjusting your vision. In childhood, our lens would have been more elastic and able to change shape easily, but as we age, the lens naturally stiffens, causing presbyopia

• It’s a common condition in adulthood – usually starting around our late thirties or forties.
• Presbyopia is a natural part of ageing and there is no cure for it.
• But there are effective ways to correct your vision

Look out for signs of Presbyopia in your late 30s or 40s – like having to hold things further away from your eyes to see them clearly – and keep going for regular eye examinations.

The 5 Most Common Myths About Presbyopia

At Louise Sloan Opticians, we treat many eye conditions and often get asked the same questions. Here are the most common misconceptions we come across.

1.    Will wearing reading glasses make my eyesight worse?

The stiffening of your eye lens is a natural and unavoidable part of ageing, and your long-sightedness will get worse as you age. I’m afraid you can’t stop it. Struggling without correction won’t benefit your vision, but wearing glasses will help you see better straight away.

2.    Will eye exercises stop me from needing reading glasses?

We all know exercise is great for toning muscles. Unfortunately, the muscles are not the problem with long-sightedness; it is the stiffening of the eye’s lens as we age. So exercises cannot help.

3.    Why do I mainly need reading glasses at night?

Your pupils grow bigger in dim light – to help you see better, but these larger pupils also affect your depth of focus – making things appear blurrier. Tiredness can also be a factor here, as your tired eye muscles struggle to effectively change the shape of your lens. So yes, your evening eyesight is more prone to blurry vision, so you may need to wear your reading glasses more frequently.

4.    Will my reading vision keep deteriorating?

Typically, once presbyopia starts, your prescription may need strengthening every 2-3years, which is why regular eye checks are essential. This deterioration may continue for about ten years, but then it usually starts to level off.

5.    Can I wear contact lenses to correct my presbyopia?

The truth is that correcting long-sightedness with contact lenses is more complicated than with glasses. Although varifocal and bifocal contact lenses are available, they can’t work in the same way as traditional glasses. The contact lenses have different zones of power that you utilise to see distance and near. At Louise Sloan Opticians, we are available to advise which options would work best for you – with alternatives like ‘monovision’ also available. Highly effective for many people, this treatment corrects one eye for long vision and the other for short.

‘It is very important that you see your optometrist for regular eye examinations as people over 40 years of age are more at risk of eye diseases such as glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration.’ The UK College of Optometrists. www.lookafteryoureyes.org

As we age, our eyes naturally start to change too. Presbyopia is one of the most common changes and signals the time for us to start using reading glasses, usually aged around 40.

If you’d like more information about long-sightedness and the options to correct your vision, please get in touch – the Louise Sloan Team will be delighted to advise you.

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