What is presbyopia?

If you feel the need to hold your mobile phone, iPad or newspaper further away when you’re trying to read them, you’re probably reaching an age when your near vision is becoming less effective. At first, this is annoying, but because it tends to occur quite gradually, you might not realise what is actually occurring.

So, it’s quite easy to ignore the problem until you realise you’re struggling to read close-up objects on an increasingly regular basis. That’s presbyopia.

Why is my vision getting blurry when I read?

Age-related vision changes aren’t unusual, and it’s something that affects everyone eventually, usually between the ages of 45 to 55. When we are young, the lens of the eye is soft and flexible, which allows the tiny muscles inside the eye to easily re-shape the lens, to change from focussing on a far away object one moment and then re-focus to read fine print the next. As we become older, the crystalline lens of the eye starts to lose its natural elasticity, making it harder to focus on close-up objects.

Typically, our long distance vision might still be good, but our near vision will deteriorate with age. Presbyopia tends to occur in both eyes, although appear different in each eye. For the vast majority of people, it’s best to consider this condition as one that will require some kind of correction for both eyes at the same time.
Nevertheless, it is possible to have another type of vision error at the same time as presbyopia. Near-sightedness, long-sightedness and astigmatism are different types of refractive error, although most people would already be aware of these conditions.

What are the signs that my reading vision is going off?

There are a number of symptoms you’ll notice if presbyopia is beginning to affect your vision:

  • Difficulty reading small print
  • A need to hold close objects further away
  • Difficulty reading in dark conditions
  • A problem focusing on near objects
  • Headaches (after reading)
  • Eye strain.

If any of these symptoms sound familiar, it means it’s time for you to consider your vision options to make everyday reading easier and more comfortable.

What can I do about my blurry vision?

Fortunately, the number of alternatives available to correct your vision because of presbyopia is much wider than ever before. The march of technology and constant research means you have a choice of solutions to consider. The first step to treat presbyopia is to visit your optometrist who can test your general eye health and determine the exact prescription you need to correct your vision.

However, it’s important to understand that presbyopia can continue and stabilise later in life. This varies considerably, depending on each individual, but presbyopia normally settles down at some point when you are over 55 years of age. For many people, the first step to correct their vision is to buy a pair of reading glasses.

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