Presbyopia is the scientific term for reading difficulties at near due to age. Focus
problems and blurred reading vision usually occurs after age 40 onwards. Thankfully
glasses can help. It's a natural age condition and so not an eye disease.
The natural lens inside the eye alters shape in order to focus on near objects like
books. This shape change allows eyes to have a reserve power. However this gradually
reduces with age because the lens hardens and thickens.
Most people notice reading blur after age 40 and can come as a shock and can be seen
as a sign of age. However in reality there has been a gradual loss from adolescent
and continues to about 65 years old when the reserve power of lens focus is lost.
This happens naturally to everybody
Symptoms of ageing reading problems
Arms are not long enough ! Sometimes presbyopia is referred to as short arm syndrome
- as it is easier to focus if hold book further away.
Complaint of eye strain, headaches, difficulty reading in dim light and blurry vision
are common symptoms of reading age problems. ( other eye conditions can have similar
Treatment of reading age.
Presbyopia can be corrected with spectacles or contact lenses. Corrective laser treatment
and other ocular operations are also possible.
On an optician’s prescription form - it is usually noted as the Reading Add that
is combined onto the distance prescription.
Optician may advise two prescriptions - one for distance and one for reading. Theses
may be combined into one pair of glasses like a bifocal or varifocal. Even if you
don’t need distance glasses, varifocals or bifocals may help with work.
Will reading glasses make my eyes worse ?
Glasses do not make eyes worse. Sometimes it can appear to do that when a person
goes back to the optician for another eye test in two years, and they may need a
stronger prescription to focus now.
However it is due to age of the lens and its focus declines gradually to about 65
years of age. New prescriptions are usually required over this period.
Usually a prescription for near can be worked out from the age. This will be tweaked
according to the length of close working area - which will depend on hobbies, work
and patients personal preference
Is there a cure for reading age ?
The ability to focus declines naturally due to age and there is no scientific valid
cure to stop this.
Glasses wont stop the decline of reading age but it will help to ease the symptoms
and see clearer to do the visual task required.
Glasses wont make your eyes worse and so its better to have comfort and not struggle.
Glasses may reduce accidents or mistakes.
Difference between Long sighted, ( hyperopia ) and presbyopia
A long sighted person vision is worst for near - but it's not quite the same as presbyopia.
The long sight can occur at any age and if it's a low amount, a person can focus
far distance using the eyes own lens reserve power
However if now try to focus at near - more power is required and the longsighted
eye may not be able to cope because it is already using the reserve power to focus
So if under age 40, the optician can give a distance prescription which gives a boost
to the longsighted eye and can use the distance glasses for reading.
If over 40, the reserve power is reduced because of presbyopia ( harder to focus
) and so may need a reading add on top of the distance prescription.
Short sighted and presbyopia
A short sighted person may be able to read by taking off their distance glasses or
may need a reading add onto the distance prescription.