Reading Glasses - Signs That You Need Them - Presbyopia
Dear Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee,
I have had perfect vision all my life, and while dining out with my husband, I could not read the menu in the restaurant very well. This is the second time that this has happened. Is this a sign that I may be developing a serious eye problem? I am 42 years old, eat healthy, exercise, and am not overweight.
Eyes need help
Dear Eyes need help,
You are most likely at the age where you need reading glasses because of presbyopia. Presbyopia is a condition where it becomes difficult to see objects close up. Folks start to notice this condition when they have to hold newspapers or books at arms length, or more light is needed, in order to read small print.
However, to make sure there are no other problems with your vision such as astigmatism, farsightedness or nearsightedness, glaucoma or cataract, you should see an optometrist or ophthalmologist.
WHAT IS PRESBYOPIA
Presbyopia is a normal age-related condition where the eye begins to lose elasticity and the ability to focus on small objects at close range. Presbyopia is sometimes called "old eyes" because the word presbyopia comes from Latin presbys meaning old man, and opia meaning vision (merriam-webster.com).
Presbyopia happens to almost everyone over the age of 40. According to lasiksurgerynews.com, presbyopia affects everyone eventually and about 90 million people in the U.S. either have presbyopia or will develop it within the next five years.
SOLUTIONS: Vision can be corrected with glasses, contact lenses, or surgery. The simplest and least expensive solution to presbyopia is to purchase ready-made reading glasses from your local drugstore or department store. Other solutions are to get custom prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses, or if already wearing glasses, then to get bifocals added to prescription eyewear. There are also surgical treatments for presbyopia.
SIGNS THAT YOU NEED READING GLASSES
Glasscrafter.com lists the following questions to determine if reading glasses are needed. If the answer is YES to more than one or two of the following questions, then you may want to make an appointment with your eye doctor to have your eyes checked out.
1. Do you get headaches or sore eyes while reading for more than a few minutes?
2. Could you thread a needle if you had to?
3. Do you squint when trying to read a magazine or book?
4. Do you hold books at arms length to read?
5. Do you squint at the words on the television set?
6. Do you find yourself having to (or wanting to) push your computer monitor back in order to see it better?
7. Have you reached your 40th birthday?
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READING GLASSES - DRUGSTORE VS CUSTOM
Allaboutvision.com outlines the drawbacks to ready-made reading glasses compared to custom prescription glasses:
1. Drugstore reading glasses are "one-size-fits-all" items. The prescription is the same in both lenses.
2. Drugstore reading glasses location of the optical center of the lenses is not customized for each wearer.
3. Most people do not have exactly the same prescription in both eyes, and almost everyone has at least a small amount of astigmatism correction in their prescriptions.
For more information, go to