Available Options for Reading and Distance Vision for Over 40s

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

As a person matures, his body also undergoes changes. The eyes are no exception. Besides other external factors that could affect your visual acuity, aging can also cause degeneration. Eventually, wearing of eyeglasses is inevitable especially for those people who have been extensively using their eyes. 

As one approaches the age of forty, blurry vision is common. In this age group, the eyes start to lose its ability to focus on nearby objects. This condition is called presbyopia.

Nearly everyone is affected by presbyopia by the time he enters middle age. As the age increases, the condition also progresses until it becomes visually noticeable. At this point, vision correction is necessary to achieve clearer images at all distances.

Age-Related Vision Changes

As a person matures into 40s and beyond, the natural lens in the eyes start to change. Around this time, the lens begins to lose its elasticity. It hardens and turns into a plate shape rather than its ideal elliptical shape.

Hence, the prescriptions would also change. The common treatments, including eyeglasses, contact lenses and eye surgeries, are no longer enough. Instead, this requires the use of bifocal, trifocal or progressive lenses. In some cases, the unique needs of this condition calls for a combination of options to fully address the problem.

Reading and Distance: the Unique Needs due to Presbyopia

When treating distance vision caused by presbyopia, nearby objects may become fuzzy. For this reason, the patient would still have to rely on reading glasses to see small prints more clearly.

Nearsighted individuals are considered to have the advantage when they experience presbyopia. Since they can see nearby objects with clarity, they do not have to rely on reading glasses. They only need to put glasses on to see more distant object.

However, the same cannot be true to highly nearsighted people. With a grade of -5.00 D or higher, the patient would need to bring the objects much closer to the eyes in order to see them clearly. In this case, nearsightedness will also have to be addressed on top of distance vision issues.

What are your Options

Contact Lenses and Reading Glasses

Contact lenses are perfect for distance vision, while reading glasses can give the clearest vision for close images. This options is most appealing to people whose occupations require precise vision, including the athletes. They use the contact lens to achieve the clearest vision at far distances and slip on the eyeglasses only when they need to.

The downside of this option, however, is the trouble of having to put on and take of the reading glasses. Moreover, the reading glasses should always be handy in case the need arises.

Monovision Contact Lenses

Some may find the idea of monovision contact lens strangely odd, but it has an impressive track record. At present, it is one of the most commonly used lens in treating presbyopia.

Although a person uses both eyes to see, one eye is more dominant than the other. This is what we primarily use when we look at distant objects. In monovision, the dominant eye wears contact lens for distance vision while the other one for reading. This way, the use of each eye is fully maximized.

Since each eye is fit with a single vision strength, near vision is slightly clearer with monovision than the other types of presbyopic lens. Also, due to its increasing popularity, finding a comfortable monovision lens is not at all difficult. You have an unlimited options of lens materials, shapes and sizes.

Regrettably, slight decrease in distance or driving vision has been observed with the use of monovision, especially at night. It can also affect depth perception, which could cause problems for those who enjoy golf, tennis and other sports. This is not ideal for professional or leisure pilots, too, because it can cause blur in certain areas of vision.

Bifocal or Multifocal Contact Lenses

The bifocal and multifocal lenses aim to create a more natural vision by correcting both eyes for distance and reading vision. The multifocal lenses come in different types, including the regular soft contact lenses, hybrid hard and soft lenses and rigid gas permeable.

In a nutshell, one part of the lens focuses on near vision while another for distance. The specifications may differ from one manufacturer to another, but its functions remain the same. If fit properly, the users will no longer need to wear eyeglasses over the contact lens in most of their daily activities.

Despite its ability to correct both near and distance vision, perfect visual acuity cannot be attained still. If reading vision becomes extremely clear, distance vision is sometimes compromised. Conversely, distance vision can be clearer but near vision lessens in quality. To this extent, the doctors would usually ask the patients which task is more important to adjust the lens to their specific needs.

There were also complaints of ghost images and double pictures. Although this experience is normal while the eyes adapt, some people are bothered too much that they decide to discontinue using them.

Presbyopia and LASIK Surgery

Fortunately, the development in LASIK surgery has brought about a permanent, natural solution for this problem. The Laser-Assisted in situ Keratomileusis surgery is an effective procedure to treat presbyopia among other refractive error.

Known as monovision or blended vision, the procedure shares the same principle as monovision contact lenses, except that it uses the eye's natural lens instead of an artificial one. Using laser eye surgery, the dominant eye is corrected for full-distance. On the other hand, the non-dominant eye is used to see images up close.

Since the brain is not used to this setup, it would take time to adjust. After a few weeks, though, the brain starts to feel comfortable with this new way of seeing and would not realize the difference. This procedure works perfectly for those who desire complete freedom from contacts or glasses.

However, someone who uses his eyes up close most of the time, monovision can potentially lead to eye strain. It can also affect night vision and depth perception. Finally, someone who can initially see in close-range will probably use reading glasses after a while since reading correction changes over time.

What you Need to Remember

Many eye doctors use a combination of the above methods to effectively address the patient's needs. It is imperative that you understand your options before making a decision. Do not jump into a conclusion right away.

Deciding which option is most suitable depends on many factors, including lifestyle, prescription, flexibility and the eye's physiology and anatomy. You will need to undergo a series of consultations and examinations. Make sure to follow all of these to achieve the most optimal results.

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