ACADEMY award-winning actress Bette Davies famously said “getting old is not for sissies” and, while ageing has substantial benefits like watching your children grow into adults and parents of their own or fully exploring the world, your eye-sight is one aspect that needs attention past the 40-year milestone.
Presbyopia, the struggle with reading small print or seeing computer and smartphone screens with ease, is a natural process of growing older, typically rearing its head from age 40. It is an inescapable condition even if you have never experienced vision problems. Anyone whose near-sight has not been an issue, but who wear spectacles or contact lenses for far-sightedness, will also notice their near vision blurring as presbyopia takes its toll.
Initially, holding the newspaper or book further away from the eyes will accommodate presbyopia, but a trip to the optometrist is inevitable for the gradual shift through reading glasses with increasing magnifications to either multifocal contact lenses or multifocal glasses.
As people continue ageing beyond the half-century milestone, the frequency with which they require upgrading their eyewear escalates as presbyopia advances. This means more regularly renewing the spectacles or contact lens prescriptions or discovering a single prescription no longer suits your vision. There may be the demand for one pair of specs when tackling daily tasks, but a different pair when spending hours in front of the computer screen to prevent the eyes from growing tired or straining.
Fortunately, advances in optometry and the development of eyewear as fashion statements now means frame choice is an extension of individuality and character and not something limited to the unattractive beer-bottle lens thickness of previous generations.
Essential in choosing frames is their comfort and functionality in assisting with vision. Frames are personal fashion statements delivered daily for hours on end, but in making a selection, people must remember it is one that will typically stay with them for the life of their spectacles – around four years.
Regular optometrist visits will prevent the natural ageing process from affecting your life. In your 40s, have routine eye examinations every two years; explore vision correction options and be aware of the higher risk of dry eye and computer vision syndrome.
In your 50s, the risks of cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration increase, hence routine eye examinations become even more important and multiple eyewear solutions a possibility in dealing with presbyopia.
Post-menopausal women should also alert their optometrist to any medications they take as some can cause dry eyes.
From your 60s onwards, annual eye examinations are crucial as is being aware of underlying eye-related conditions like diabetes. Cataracts, the loss of colour vision and awareness that night driving can be problematic are also issues for consideration.
Date Published: 13 June 2017
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