“My arms just aren’t long enough any more, I think they’re shrinking as I get older.”
“Those magazines are getting tighter and tighter with their budgets, they keep shrinking the text to fit more to a page.”
“My head is causing too much of a shadow on the paper to read clearly.”
As optometrists, we’ve heard it all and none of it is true. Sometimes you just have to face up to the facts, most people’s eyesight will get worse with age.
Presbyopia makes it difficult to see objects up close, affecting tasks like reading and sewing.
It tends to affect people over the age of 45, but very few people will talk about it.
If you think of your eyes as a muscle (which they essentially are anyway), it makes sense that they get weaker as you get older. You know how after a certain age you have to work that little bit harder at the gym to keep in shape? Your eyes are no exception.
As you age, the lens in the eye starts to lose its elasticity and you gradually lose the ability to focus on objects up close. So you will probably find that you need to hold reading materials further away in order to see them clearly.
There’s a few common myths we hear in this line of work. One is that presbyopia is preventable. Sorry, it’s not a disease- it’s caused by aging muscles. Unless you can find a time machine, there is no amount of carrots that will improve your eyesight here.
The second one is that wearing glasses will make it worse. To suggest that your feet get lazy from wearing proper work out shoes would be ridiculous, but time and time again people claim that their eyes come to ‘rely’ on glasses and get worse. You need glasses to see- so give your eyes (and arms) a break and get fitted.
And that’s the good news. There is an easy fix for aging eyes. Presbyopia is easily diagnosed by a standard eye check and can be corrected using reading glasses.