Can You Read This?
It’s the topic of conversation at every dinner I attend, especially if it’s taking place in a restaurant. It usually starts with someone holding the menu at arms length, squinting, as they try to make sense of it. “Is this writing tiny or is it me?”
It’s you. Right around the mid 40s mark, give or take a few, many of us start experiencing what’s called Presbyopia. And for some reason, women seem to notice it a little younger then men. (The injustices just keep piling up.)
Hasn’t hit you yet? Optometrist Dr. Richard Bissonnette says pretty much everyone will have to deal with it sooner or later. “Presbyopia is considered a normal age-related change. The focusing mechanism of the eye loses the ability to function. The current theory is that although the muscles are fine and the lens is still able to change shape, the fibers that connect the muscles to the lens are unable to properly function.”
It’s bad enough that I’m getting wrinkles and my bones are starting to creak. Now my “fibers” are failing me too?
I chuckle at my friends who are pulling out their reading glasses with great fanfare. I’ve been wearing glasses and contacts for over 25 years so you’re not going to get a lot of sympathy from me. Plus, I’m now dealing with double (bad) vision.
Without my contacts I can see up close but not far away. With my contacts I can see far, but anything close up is blurry. Multifocal lenses, here I come. For the rest of you, reading or bifocal glasses are the best solution as surgery still isn’t considered a good option.
But Dr. Bissonnette warns of simply going out and buying a pair of readers. In rare cases, the symptoms could be the sign of something more sinister.
“There are some drugs that cause a loss of focusing ability. This usually reverses when the drug is discontinued. If the symptoms are only present in one eye or at an unexpected age then additional testing would be warranted. An eye exam would be recommended for any situation where there is a change in vision, even if it seems like simple presbyopia,” he says.
One more thing to note, not all jurisdictions sell over-the-counter readers. You may need to get a proper eye exam and a prescription.
Until then, a magnifying glass anyone?