When you turn 40, it can seem like almost overnight things start to go downhill. In our forties, we lose some of our eye’s focusing abilities. This makes it harder and harder to find the right position to hold things so that they can be seen them clearly. Although this is frustrating to experience, it is a normal part of aging. Fortunately, there are things that a person can do to help ease the issues they are facing with their vision.
Lens Changes with Age
The lens of the eye is a transparent structure with a biconvex shape. The lens, with the help of the cornea, refracts light and focuses the light on the retina. This provides a picture that we see when we look at something. To get a clearer picture of the image we look at, the lens adjusts to provide focus. This ability to adjust focus allows people to see various images at different distances clearly. This lens is made up of mostly crystalline proteins and other components, such as sugars, water, lipids, and low-weight molecules to provide a flexible and clear lens.
As a person ages, there is deterioration of the elasticity in the lens of the eye. This loss of elasticity creates presbyopia that is often noticed sometime in your forties. Presbyopia means the lens in the eye has lost some of it’s focusing ability. This loss of focusing ability can make it seem like you need to hold reading material farther out than your arms can physically reach. Many patients first experiencing presbyopia joke that they need longer arms!
While presbyopia can’t be cured, glasses can provide the focusing ability your eyes have lost, allowing you to see up close again. When purchasing glasses, there are several options for presbyopic patients. Bifocal glasses have a distance prescription on the top portion of the lens, and a near prescription on the bottom portion of the lens. Many patients don’t like bifocals because the line across the lenses is not aesthetically pleasing.
For those in need of bifocal lenses, there is a better option that can provide clear vision. Progressive lenses have no line across the lenses, so no one can tell you are wearing multifocal lenses.The power of the lens changes gradually throughout the lenses. This type of lens allows you to see distance clearly in the upper portion of the lens. There is also a central area of the lens that allows for midrange viewing (computer screens), and an inferior portion of the lens power that allows for reading at near. The power of the lens changes throughout the lens, depending on where you look. This allows for clear vision at any distance. This combined with no visible line makes progressive lenses a popular lens option for those with presbyopia.
Visiting Your Eye Doctor
If you begin to notice changes or difficulties in your vision, especially after the age of 40, it is important to visit your eye doctor for an exam. This examination will provide the doctor the opportunity to rule out any other causes of your vision problems. During this examination, the doctor will determine the exact changes in vision and prescribe the right strength of lenses to correct your vision.