Why Is It Harder To See After 40?

Just when your career and life are really starting to take off, your eyes seem to be slowing down. Reading and viewing close objects becomes progressively more difficult in your 40's because of natural aging process called presbyopia.

Presbyopia makes reading more difficult because of a decreased ability to change focus, especially from far to near. As you age, the lens in your eyes becomes more rigid, and the muscles gradually lose their ability to focus at near.

The signs of presbyopia are:

  • small print is difficult to read

  • you need to hold things further away to read

  • you need more light to read

  • reading is easier without glasses or contact lenses if you are nearsighted

You can slow down the progression of presbyopia by doing several things

Accommodative exercises: change your focus between a distant and near target as fast as you can for 5-10 minutes. This increases your eye's focus flexibility.

  • Wearing sunglasses and/or glasses with an ultraviolet filter to slow down the aging effects of the sun on your eyes.

  • Taking anti-oxidant supplements to minimize lens oxidation which can increase the rigidity of your eyes' focusing lens. Green leafy vegetables, and orange-colored fruits and vegetables are also good sources of anti-oxidants.

Inevitably, you will need a special prescription, or bifocal lens for reading, even if you had refractive surgery.

 Options to help you read include:

  • progressive lenses (no-line bifocals)

  • reading glasses

  • adjustable computer glasses

  • bifocal contact lenses and/or mono-vision contact lenses

  • The main limitation is that you lose your range of clear vision as presbyopia progresses because glasses and contact lenses cannot zoom in, or out, to change focus the way your eye muscles could before you turned 40.

To help Dr. Esquibel determines the best solution for you.  Bring to your annual exam an estimate of the different distances that you work at. Examples are: the distance from your eyes to the computer screen, music stand, or painting easel. We want you to see your best to keep up with your busy life!