All of us notice an important change in our vision sometime around the age of 45. It seems like we wake up one day and can’t focus on objects up-close. Perhaps this change was more gradual – it became difficult to see menus or credit card slips in a dimly-lit restaurant, or price tags and caller ID were fuzzy, but as long as we held our arms out a little further, we could focus. But one day, we run out of arm length, and reading glasses or progressive lenses became a constant companion. This condition is called presbyopia and results from the gradual hardening of the natural lens in the eye. As we age, the lens loses flexability to shift focus between distance and near, and reading becomes difficult without magnification. Presbyopia afflicts everyone over the age of 45, and progressively gets worse over a span of about 20 years.
Our eye functions much like a camera. The natural lens focuses images onto the back of the eye so we can see clearly, much like the lens of a camera focusing images onto film for a clear picture. At birth, our natural lens is clear, but literally from the day we’re born, protein deposits are building up on this lens that make it cloudy, and gradually turn it from clear to opaque. This happens to everyone, and becomes noticeable to most people in their 50s. This condition is called a cataract, and is usually a result of the natural aging process. Everyone will at some point experience this lens dysfunction. As this lens becomes cloudier, vision becomes compromised.
Symptoms that could indicate the presence of a dysfunctional lens include a subtle dulling of colors, halos around lights or glare when driving, difficulty reading in low light, blurred or double vision, and an increased frequency to changes in your glasses prescription. Even if you’re not yet noticing any vision degradation, if you are over the age of 45 and experiencing symptoms of presbyopia, these symptoms will continue to worsen with age, as the lens gradually becomes discolored (yellow), cloudy and eventually hardens into a cataract.
Call us or submit an appointment request and let us help you identify options that will allow you to see better without the on/off hassle of reading glasses.