How do I know if I need reading glasses?

After the age of 40, it’s common to experience changes in our sight. Many adults find that seeing clearly at close distances becomes harder - a condition known as presbyopia. As our eyes age, their ability to focus becomes weaker, meaning reading glasses are required to correct vision and reduce eye strain. If you want to know whether you’re experiencing the onset of presbyopia and what you can do about it, we’ll explain everything you need to know here.

What causes presbyopia?

Presbyopia is a common issue that develops with age. It’s estimated that around 30 million people in the UK have the condition. As our eyes age, their lenses lose elasticity and flexibility, making it harder to focus on objects up close. The ciliary muscles, which change the shape of the lens in order to focus, also become weaker. Presbyopia is a universal condition, meaning almost everyone experiences it to some degree by the age of 50. 

Symptoms of presbyopia

Presbyopia tends to develop between the ages of 41 and 60. If you notice any of the following symptoms, it’s advisable to book an appointment at your local opticians:

1. You have to hold books or other reading material at arm’s length to see the words clearly.

2. Your existing glasses lenses no longer seem adequate for focusing on near objects, and you find yourself taking your glasses off to see better.

3. Focusing in poor light is harder.

4. You’re experiencing headaches, eye strain and fatigue that makes near-vision tasks uncomfortable.

Diagnosis and treatment of presbyopia

For confirmation that presbyopia is setting in, you’ll need to visit a qualified and experienced optician. During your eye exam, the optometrist will test your visual acuity at various distances, carry out a refraction assessment, and examine the overall health of your eyes. 

One of the most common treatments for presbyopia is reading glasses. These are usually prescribed for those with no other vision problems, and your optometrist will recommend a prescription that meets your needs. You will need to wear them when you’re reading or performing other activities that require clear vision up close. 

For those who already wear glasses, bifocals, trifocals or multifocals may be a better option. These types of glasses have correction for both near and distance vision, and can be prescribed depending on your needs. If you prefer not to wear glasses, you can opt instead for bifocal, monovision or modified monovision contact lenses. 

Some people choose to get surgery to correct the condition. There are several types of refractive surgery, including laser treatments and lens replacement, and you can speak to your optometrist about the options and their benefits and risks. Bear in mind that the results of surgery can be variable and you may still need glasses for close-up work.   

Book an eye exam

If you’re looking for professional optical services in London, visit The Eye Establishment today. At our opticians in Kensington we will carry out a full examination, checking both your vision and eye health, and recommending treatment for any issues you may have. Book online or give us a call to make an appointment.