If you are over 40 years of age, you’ve probably noticed changes in your vision. Difficulty seeing clearly for reading and close work is among the most common problems adults develop between ages 41 to 60. However, this is also the time when other changes in your eyes can start to affect your work and other daily activities or hobbies.
If you have experienced relatively good vision throughout your life and haven’t needed eyeglasses or contact lenses to correct distance vision, then the development of near vision problems after age 40 can be somewhat of a concern and a frustration. Losing the ability to read the newspaper or to see cell phone numbers may seem to have occurred abruptly. Actually, these changes have been occurring gradually since childhood. But up until now, your eyes have had adequate focusing power to allow you to see clearly for reading and close work. Now your eyes no longer have enough focusing power for clear and comfortable near vision tasks. This normal aging change in the eye’s focusing ability, called presbyopia, will continue to progress over time.
Initially, you may have found you needed to hold reading materials farther away to see them clearly. Print in the newspaper or on a restaurant menu may appear blurred, especially under dim lighting. If you already wear prescription glasses or contact lenses to see clearly in the distance, the near vision changes caused by presbyopia can bring about the need to use bifocal or multifocal lenses. If you are nearsighted, you may have discovered that you now need to remove your glasses to see better up close. Fortunately, people with presbyopia now have many options to improve their ability to see well. These include glasses with a lined bifocal or no-line bifocal, monovision or bifocal contact lenses, or laser eye surgery.
Along with the onset of presbyopia, an increase in the incidence of eye health problems occur during these years. Whether or not there is a need for eyeglasses, adults should be examined for signs of developing eye health and vision problems. A comprehensive eye examination is recommended every year. Don’t rely on substitutes like a health fair vision screening or a driver’s license vision test to determine if you have an eye health or vision problem.
Adults over 40 may be particularly at risk for the development of eye health and vision problems if any of the following exist:
- Chronic, systemic conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
- A family history of glaucoma or macular degeneration.
- A visually demanding job or work in an eye-hazardous occupation.
- Health conditions like high cholesterol, thyroid conditions, anxiety or depression, and arthritis for which medications must be taken.
Early warning signs of eye health problems include fluctuating vision, increased glare or light sensitivity, changes in color perception, seeing flashes and floaters, loss of side vision, and distorted vision.
If you have questions about your vision or eye health or, are interested in having your eyes examined, please contact our office in Stillwater at 405-372-1715. We also invite you to visit our website at www.cockrelleyecare.com and like us on Facebook at Cockrell Eye Care Center!