Turning 40? Get Ready to Stock Up on Readers

OK, so you just had your 40th birthday, complete with the black clothes worn by “mourning” party attendees, tedious cards about adult diapers, and all of that. 

But there was one guest who was definitely on the list who you may not know — presbyopia. 

Since we take care of all aspects of your vision at Central Valley Eye Medical, we’ll give you a heads up on what will start changing with your eyesight now that you hit the big four-oh. 

What is presbyopia? 

Just like everything else on your body, your eyes age. Presbyopia is a natural consequence of this. Presbyopia is the loss of the eye’s ability to change its focus in order to see objects that are near. It is not a disease, but a condition. It generally starts to appear at the age of 40 in most people. 

In your younger days, the lens in your eye is soft and flexible. Because of this it changes shape easily, which is how you focus on objects both up close and far away. After most people turn 40 the lens becomes less flexible, more rigid. It can’t change shape as easily as it did in your younger days, so it becomes much more difficult to see things at close range, such as when reading. You’re not alone in this — almost everyone develops presbyopia. 

Isn’t this just farsightedness? 

People often assume presbyopia is just farsightedness (hyperopia), but the two are different conditions. When the lens of the eye loses flexibility with age, that is presbyopia. When the natural shape of the eyeball (the eye is shorter than normal or has a cornea that is too flat) causes light rays to bend incorrectly once they enter the eye, that is hyperopia. While the causes are different, the results are much the same — the person has difficulty seeing things up close without correction. But farsightedness can be present at birth, while presbyopia develops after 40. Hyperopia often has genetic tendencies, while presbyopia is common throughout the population. 

Presbyopia cannot be cured, but it can be easily corrected. Most people simply opt for standard drugstore reading glasses, having a few pairs around the house wherever they may need to do some reading. It can also be treated with surgery, although that’s rarely needed or even pursued. 

IOLs now correct for it 

One interesting development with presbyopia the last couple years, however, comes with cataract surgery. As intraocular lenses — the artificial lenses that are placed when the cataract-clouded natural lens is removed — continue their awesome technological advances, some options can now correct for presbyopia in addition to giving you crystal-clear eyesight, even for up close reading! How cool is that? 

If you’ve just turned 40, you might not have purchased readers yet, but they’re coming! Is it also time for your regular eye exam? As you continue to age, the frequency of eye exams becomes more important to head off issues such as glaucoma and macular degeneration. Call us at Central Valley Eye Medical, (800) 244-9907, to make your appointment.

Posted in: Eye Conditions


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.