I hang out with a crowd that includes 35 to 55 year olds. Most of us still often think and behave like 20 year olds (more often than I care to admit), but many of our parts, like our eyes, remind us that we’re not kids anymore. Why is our college party buddy Lugnut wearing those old guy reading glasses??
We may not look it, feel it or want to admit it, but our eyes are getting older and that affects our near vision. Don’t fight it. It really can’t be stopped but it CAN be corrected with glasses or contacts, so you should avoid any additional eyestrain and have your eyes checked sooner rather than later if they are feeling funky.
So what is going on? Visionweb.com wrote a very nice explanation, which I have included below:
Aging eyes, medically known as presbyopia, is a condition in which the lens of the eye gradually loses its flexibility, making it harder to focus clearly on close objects. Distance vision is usually unaffected.
Presbyopia, which is named from the Greek words for “old eye,” is part of the normal aging process and is easily treated with eyeglasses or contact lenses. LASIK and other types of surgery cannot prevent or remedy this natural occurrence, which affects nearly everyone by age 50.
As the lens loses its elasticity, it becomes less capable of “bending” to properly focus light rays from different distances onto the retina. The more a lens can “bend,” the closer the eye can focus.
Presbyopia usually becomes apparent in your early- to mid-40s, but this lens “stiffening” is actually a gradual process that begins decades earlier, sometimes in adolescence. The visual effects caused by presbyopia may slowly worsen for several years, requiring new changes in your lens prescription, but will stabilize by age 65 or 70.
The first sign of presbyopia is often the need to hold reading material at arm’s length the see letters clearly. This is why some eye care professionals jokingly call it “long arm syndrome.” In addition to blurred vision when reading or doing other close-vision activities at a distance that was previously comfortable, symptoms can include:
• Needing brighter light to see clearly
• Eye strain, fatigue or discomfort
• A decreased ability to see in darkness, and/or increased sensitivity to glare
• Headaches, due to muscle tension or strain as the eye tries to adjust the lens shape
Unless you can stop Father Time, you can’t prevent presbyopia, as it is an inevitable part of aging. It is not caused, nor can it be prevented by lifestyle, diet or visual habits. However, some people who do a lot of close visual work such as intensive reading or computer work may develop it earlier than others. You can help minimize related eyestrain by taking a brief break from close visual tasks every hour or so, and by using bright light when reading.
So what is the treatment? First, see your eye doctor to get your current prescription. He/She will help you decide which option will work best for you. There are countless eyeglass options (cheap drug store readers are options, but beware of poor lens quality) and even contact lenses that work for some people.
Me? I followed Lugnut’s lead (and Brad Pitt’s) and wear snazzy reading glasses. I like to think they make me look more mature. My friends know better…
See you later!