Have you started to increase the font size on your screens? Or are you catching yourself pushing reading material further from you to see better? You may also be noticing your eyes feel tired and strained by the end of the work day.
These are common signs of something called presbyopia. Presbyopia is not an eye disease, but a natural part of the eye’s aging process. When we are young, the internal lens of the eye which sits just behind the coloured iris is able to flex and change shape. This flexibility allows the eye to switch focus from far to near, in a process called “accommodation”. As time passes the lens naturally becomes more rigid and reading ability is progressively lost. Although presbyopia starts becoming symptomatic around the age of 40, the process can start even earlier.
Presbyopia is a refractive status that requires correction to alleviate. It is not a muscle weakness or condition that eye exercises or training can prevent. An optometrist will most commonly prescribe reading glasses, progressive addition lenses, bifocals, and contact lenses, or can even recommend surgical options. Researchers are also working on eye drops which restore some of the focusing ability of the lens. Reading correction is not a “one size fits all” solution. Although your optometrist may also suggest improvements to your reading conditions, there are many customizable nuances to the above options that can maximize ease of use and adaptation time.
The correct strength of the prescription should always be determined through a comprehensive eye exam. Although everyone experiences presbyopia, it is important to determine if there are any other refractive statuses, binocular function issues, or ocular health problems that may compromise reading ability. In an increasingly digital world, it is tempting to normalize discomfort after periods of near work. At Spectrum Eye Care, your optometrist will take the time to ask the right questions, thoroughly examine the eyes, and prescribe the best possible solution for your lifestyle.