Sometime after you turn 40, you may notice a difference in your near vision. It may seem like a sudden change the first time you struggle to read the tiny print on a medicine bottle, or when you’re squinting at your menu in a romantic restaurant, wishing for some decent lighting.
The truth is that the changes in your eyes have been going on since you were a child. Every person over 40 years old experiences diminished near vision, or presbyopia. Let’s take a look at why near vision declines with age and what you can do about it.
Why Near Vision Declines with Age
Inside your eye is a lens that subtly flexes to adjust your focus from near to far. Over time, the proteins in this lens harden, causing it to be less flexible. This stiffness is why it becomes more difficult for your eyes to focus up close.
When people start experiencing presbyopia, in their mid to early 40s, they find that their prescription changes often. By the time they near age 60, however, these changes level off.
As frustrating as this shift in vision can be, there are lots of options for correcting for presbyopia. If you already wear eyeglasses, adding progressive lenses provides a range of near vision correction. These are less noticeable than bifocals.
There are other options for contact lens wearers, such as multifocal lenses or monovision lenses. Multifocal lenses work in a similar way as progressive eyeglass lenses, with a range of correction values. With monovision lenses, one eye is corrected for near vision and the other for far vision. The brain quickly learns to integrate the two.
Another option for contact lens wearers is reading glasses, which are only worn when needed. This is also the most simple solution for people who don’t require other vision correction.
If you don’t want to deal with reading glasses, a surgical option that’s gaining popularity is a corneal inlay, such as Raindrop Near Vision Inlay. In this procedure, a tiny inlay is placed below the surface of the non-dominant eye. This changes the field of vision in that eye just enough to improve near vision without significantly changing far vision.
An important note: Many people who have presbyopia also experience increased light sensitivity. However you choose to correct your near vision, speak to your eye doctor about the best way to protect your eyes from the sunlight.
Contact your Local Eye Doctor
If you have found your near vision declining, consult one of our skilled eye doctors in southeast Michigan. They can help you choose the approach that will serve you best and keep your eyes healthy for years to come.