Nobody is immune to the slow decrease in focusing ability people experience over time. When we are young, we can hold things right at the tip of our noses and still see them with great detail.
Over the years, we slowly lose this ability until we are no longer able to hold text at a reasonable distance and read it. Generally this happens in our early 40’s. That is when we experience the problem that our arms are not long enough. You have no doubt seen people pushing a menu farther away to try to read the Soup De Jour. This classic “presbyopia” is exacerbated by low restaurant lighting.
Presbyopia is caused by a stiffening of the lens, which sits right behind the colored iris. The lens thickens over time which makes it more difficult for the muscles to change its shape and thus focus the image. The stiffer the lens becomes, the more difficult it is to change focus. Think lifting a barbell and slowly adding more weight until you are unable to succeed.
Presbyopia is different from nearsightedness (myopia) or farsightedness (Hyperopia) as it is an insufficiency in focusing ability rather than a blurriness at a given distance. The description of presbyopia is assuming a proper distance prescription is being worn. Luckily, there are many great ways to correct presbyopia. The most obvious way is to wear reading glasses, which focus light so the lens inside your eye does not have to change shape in order to read. The downside to reading glasses is that if you look through them at a distance, things are blurry. Lined Bifocals solve this issue providing a distance prescription in the top part of the lens and reading prescription below. This is great for people with both a distance prescription as well as presbyopia. This lens design allows you to jump back and forth between different viewing conditions without moving your glasses. Progressive Addition Lenses have quickly become the most popular way to treat presbyopia. With a smooth blend between distance and near optics, they allow a patient to simultaneously see at all distances including the intermediate area, which is lost in a bifocal. Cosmetically there is no line on the lens, and there is no jump between the different optical zones. While old progressive lenses created distortions and swim effect, today's digitally designed and laser cut lenses are much more precise and have almost no peripheral distortions. The digital progressive lenses used at Midtown Optometry utilize the most recent technology to give easy adaptation and great visual clarity. There is a huge discrepancy in quality between different progressive lens manufactures and we make sure to choose to the very best for our patients.