Reading glasses, the words alone sound like librarians, like a flat frame on the very end of a thin nose, held back by a small cord behind someone’s neck. They remind us of teachers who seemed to be a million years old, back when we were kids. They sound like a couple in which one spouse refuses to get their own pair and ends up borrowing their partner’s frame whenever they need to read a menu at the restaurant. The bad news: most of us will need reading glasses eventually. The good news: glasses are more and more becoming a fashion accessory. So what’s the deal with reading glasses and when are you going to need a pair?
We use reading glasses to correct a condition called “presbyopia”. Presbyopia or aging eye condition is the normal age-related loss of near focusing ability. Because of the small distance at which we usually read, this results, first and foremost, in problems with reading and screen work or just seeing objects at close distances. The signs of presbyopia can include difficulty reading small prints, having to hold reading materials further than arm’s distance, problems seeing objects close by, eye strain and headaches.
The people we associate with this type of eyewear may seem ancient, however, the critical age is already 40-45 years! At this age the near focusing gets more difficult for almost everyone. The most classic act of beginning presbyopia is moving text further away in order to be able to read it. At some point your arms are not long enough anymore. However, many postpone a visit to the optician, as the need for reading glasses seems to feel like admitting that age is actually a thing. Being old might be tough, but being old and unable to read is even tougher!
There are some lucky individuals that may never feel the need for reading glasses – the myopes. Some nearsighted people are able to read comfortably by just taking their glasses off since their focal point is naturally at the near distance. However, these folks already usually wear glasses and will probably benefit most by upgrading to multifocal (progressive) glasses that help them see both far and near.
You’ve got plenty of options for correcting presbyopia – reading glasses, computer glasses, multifocal (progressive) glasses, the “old-fashioned” bifocal or trifocal glasses. Multifocal contact lenses are also among the options as well as a solution called monovision – you wear one contact lens that corrects only distance vision in one eye, and another that corrects only near vision in the other eye. Presbyopia can be treated with surgery as well.
There’s no reason not to get your eyes checked, since presbyopia happens to absolutely everyone. The recommendation is to check your vision regularly at any age, but latest at the age of 40. Especially performing daily screen work is a burden to anyone’s vision system, and easily causes symptoms that can be treated. Pro tip: don’t make life more difficult than it has to be – get proper vision correction today!