The need for reading glasses is part and parcel of the aging process – The Mercury

An unwelcome gift of aging as many reach their 50s is the need for reading glasses.

This age-related loss of near vision, which occurs when the muscles in our eyes lose their ability to focus, can affect those who have never had problems with their eyes before.

This can put a crease in the normal ease you might once have had of doing everyday things, like being able to read ingredients on cans, numbers on product stickers at checkout. -service or read a good novel or the news on a smart phone.

Most head to the nearest drugstore or one of the dollar stores to get several pairs of non-prescription readers to place anywhere and everywhere they might come in handy, such as a pair for the kitchen counter. , another on the bedside table and one for the car.

“Between 45 and 50, almost everyone reaches a point where they need reading glasses,” said Dr. Lana Heckman, who practices at Premier Optical in Target Optical, Wyomissing, Berks County. “They’ve had good vision all their lives and then all of a sudden they can’t read.”

This is a time when many visit an optometrist, which is why Heckman is used to seeing many patients in this age range.

“A lot of times it’s the first time they’ve had their eyesight checked in a very long time,” she said.

Nancy Niggel, 59, discovered her vision loss started in her 40s.

“When I was taking care of my kids it started to be difficult to look at things up close, like looking for ticks,” said Niggel who lives in Limerick Township, Montgomery County and works in Chester Springs, County of Chester, as manager. director of the Chester Spring Library.

Niggel had to start wearing readers on her contact lenses, which she’s been wearing since she was in ninth grade. It is now equipped with many pairs of readers.

“You just have to have them somewhere at hand constantly,” she said. “You must have a pair in every room.”

Now that she’s older, Niggel, who maintains her eye health by seeing an optometrist once a year at a Walmart vision center, assesses her day in advance to determine the best plan for her vision support.

“If I know I’m going to be doing crafts today or story time and I really need to be focused, then I’ll wear my glasses since I have the progressive bifocals,” Niggel said. “Before, I felt like my contacts were better, but now I prefer my glasses when I know I’m going to be doing close-up activities all day.”

If you’re experiencing age-related vision problems for the first time, Heckman said getting checked out by an eye doctor is ideal for a variety of reasons despite the common urge of many to turn to the quick fix for eye problems. pharmacy readers.

“I find people pick up the wrong strength,” she said. “Also, the quality isn’t always the best, and that can lead to headaches because they’re not right for you.”

Other issues may involve a person needing a different prescription for each eye, or having astigmatism that needs to be taken into consideration, in addition to other potential considerations.

“You need different strengths for a computer compared to reading small print,” she said.

Heckman said people are arriving later than in previous years because of technology helping them with their near vision.

“They increase the text size on their phones or Kindles or take a picture of text and make it bigger,” she said. “I find that it’s been a few years since everyone has had a smartphone.”

Once you’ve made your first visit to the optometrist or ophthalmologist, Heckman suggests a frequency of return visits based on age and history.

“If they’re 50, they should go every two years unless they notice a change,” she said. “If you’re 60 and over, they should come every one to two years, whether or not they have vision problems.”

A basic eye exam and eye disease screening can help rule out common eye diseases in adults ages 40 and older, providing a greater chance of early treatment and preservation of vision.

Not all vision changes are age-related. Heckman has shared some issues you should watch out for that require immediate attention.

“Pain in the eyes, floaters, chronic irritation, dry eyes, flashes of light,” she said. “All of these could be a sign of an underlying disease such as retinal problems, cataracts or glaucoma.

“Glaucoma is one of the main reasons you should have your eyes checked because it is asymptomatic but once detected it can be treated. If left untreated it can lead to loss of vision or Blindness.

Age-related macular degeneration is an eye disease that causes symptoms and can also lead to blindness if left untreated.

“This is a common central vision loss in people aged 65 and over,” she said. “That’s why it’s good to come and check the retina for macular degeneration, retinal holes, tears and detachment.”


For more information on age-related vision loss and eye disease, visit:

The American Academy of Optometry:

The American Academy of Ophthalmology:

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