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Having trouble seeing up close? Here are some tips

By Judith Whitehead
Contributing Writer

As we age, it becomes more difficult  to read, especially over the age of 40 years old.

If someone is nearsighted or myopic, we can forestall the need for a bifocal or reading glasses for a while longer. A nearsighted person can use his natural near sight to read until it becomes more inconvenient to hold reading material closer to the eye.

The natural lens of the eye is made up of proteins and as we age, the lens becomes less elastic. It can no longer accommodate seeing at several distances. It is at this point that we say “our  arms are getting shorter,” because we have to hold reading material farther away in order to focus.

There are several ways to solve this problem.

Judith Whitehead

The easiest way, of course, is to get some glasses to relax the lens of the eye and enable focusing to become easier. They can be in the form of readers or bifocal lenses.

Also, there are surgical procedures now available, such as laser treatments, to  solve this focusing problem. Laser treatment is not for everyone and requires a consult with a surgeon to see if you are a good candidate. The health of the eye is an important consideration, along with age and other factors that will be explained.

There are also contact lenses that can help. There are bifocal contacts along with a monovision arrangement in which one eye is used for distance and one for near focusing.

Many people experiment with over-the-counter readers that can be purchased at drug and convenience stores. They can be a useful and inexpensive tool to use. They do not, however, account for any astigmatism – an irregular-shaped eye ball – and are only spherical in nature. One must keep in mind while trying the different strengths or powers, that the higher the number, the stronger the lenses, the closer you will have to come with your reading material.

Keep in mind, if you read at a 14-inch distance,  the strength of the glasses will be different than if you read at, say, 18 inches.

Trial and error is the best way to decide what strength is good for you. Also, an eye doctor can do a simple exam called a refraction to decide what specific strength is best for you.

Welcome to the aging process.

Judith Whitehead of East Amherst is a certified ophthalmic technician.


Twitter: @BNrefresh

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