I’m 40-something. Why is it harder to read?
Firstly, it happens to everyone and is not something to worry about. From childhood our eyes automatically change focus over the full range of distances thanks to a flexible lens within the eye. But even before we are 20, our ability to focus at close distances begins to gradually reduce.
From about 40, this starts to become noticeable – small print is harder to see and you find yourself wanting to hold it further away to get a clear focus. Before long, even stretching your arms is not enough and some form of optical correction is needed.
The formal name for this condition is “presbyopia” and while it is not a disease, it can be very inconvenient. Presbyopia keeps developing until about the age of 60, so you should expect that every two or three years you will need a change in your optical prescription to maintain clear vision.
What options do I have to see clearly again?
Both glasses and contact lenses are very commonly used to give clear vision at close distances. Many people find having both for different occasions gives them the best result, especially if they have an active lifestyle when contact lenses are often more convenient.
Glasses may be simple “readers” that only give clear vision at close distances. More commonly, progressive power spectacle lenses are used that give clear vision at all distances, although you need to move your eyes and head to look through the correct part of the lens, and the sides of your vision are always out of focus.
If you already wear contact lenses they can be augmented with a simple pair of reading glasses. But whether or not you need your long distance vision corrected, a more convenient option is multifocal contact lenses.
These give clear vision at all ranges without any need to adjust your head or eye position and there are no blurry zones to the sides. And of course, with contact lenses you present the world with your natural appearance.
Contact lenses are also ideal if you play sport, have an active lifestyle or in any other situation where glasses are inconvenient or less effective. No option can give you the eyes of a teenager again but advanced technology certainly means clear, comfortable vision at all distances is very achievable.