IT’S AMAZING how science can be very precise. Take for instance when most people, around the age 40 (plus or minus a couple of years), will all of a sudden seem not be able to focus on near objects such as when reading. I have even had patients who noticed this exactly the day after their 40th birthday.
As a result, one will notice that the words they are reading seem to be connected to each other; eyestrain and headache (usually at the back of one’s neck) become more apparent. To try to be able to focus better, one will try to extend one’s arms further out; some go to a brighter room, others will simply make the fonts on their phone or computer larger; while some simply ask someone else to read what they are reading for them. Sounds familiar?
No need to worry, what is happening here is called presbyopia.
Presbyopia is a condition in which the lens of the eye loses its ability to focus, making it difficult to see objects up close. No one can escape presbyopia even if you have never had a vision problem before. Although there is no cure for presbyopia, it can be corrected simply with glasses or contact lenses (nonsurgical) or Laser surgery (surgical).
With glasses, you may only need reading glasses if your distance vision is still good. If not, bifocals or progressive lenses are the other options. Today progressive lenses are much more popular than bifocals as progressive lenses offer a more gradual and more normal visual transition looking from the distance to intermediate to near objects.
With contact lenses, you may have reading glasses over your contact lenses; some people choose to correct their one eye for near and the other eye for distance. This is called monovision. The good news as with all modern technology, multifocal contact lenses are now available as well.
Should you choose not to be corrected, your vision will just become more and more difficult that it may start affecting your work or lifestyle; needless to say that your arms will no longer be long enough.
Most importantly, upon reaching presbyopia or age 40, whichever comes first that is, aside from getting those glasses or contact lenses, more than ever, it is the best time for you to have your eye health examined (just like you would do when you go for your annual executive health checkup) to screen you against cataracts, glaucoma and other diseases of the eye. Remember that certain eye diseases are asymptomatic in nature and that the best way to avoid this is through early detection.
(The author is the president and professional services manager of George Optical. He was chosen as the 2012 Outstanding Professional of the Year in the field of Optometry given by the Professional Regulation Commission. You may send in your comments and feedback to [email protected]).