Sometime after age 40, most people begin to experience blurred vision up close when performing tasks like reading, sewing, or working at the computer. This condition is called presbyopia. This happens to everyone eventually, even those who have never had vision problems. In fact, around 1 in 3 Americans currently have presbyopia. Once presbyopia starts, you will find you need to hold books, menus, and other things with small print farther away from you to see the print clearly. Headaches and eyestrain are common symptoms of presbyopia.
Presbyopia is caused by the loss of flexibility of the lens inside the eye as one ages. This is different from your inherent need for glasses to correct distance vision, which are related to the shape of your eye.
Presbyopia is most often corrected with bifocal or progressive addition lenses. “Bifocal” means two points of focus: distance and near. The top portion of the glasses lens corrects for distance and the lower portion of the lens holds the stronger prescription for near work. Progressive addition lenses offer a gradual transition between a number of lens powers with no visible lines on the lenses. Another option is a dedicated pair of reading glasses to help with near work. If you normally wear contact lenses, you can purchase non-prescription over-the-counter “readers” at a retail store.