Difficulty in seeing small print, needing more light to read and holding reading material further away from you are all indicators that it is time to book an eye exam to ascertain whether you need reading glasses. As you age, you may find yourself struggling to see objects and read words up-close. This farsightedness, or presbyopia, is an entirely natural and common part of the aging process and can be easily corrected with reading glasses or contact lenses. But age-related vision changes aside, the cause of your blurred vision could also be a warning sign of a more serious vision problem, such as cataracts or glaucoma.
NATURAL VISION CHANGES
During youth, the lens in your eye is soft and flexible, meaning it can change its shape easily, allowing you to focus on objects both close and far away. Beginning in the early to mid-forties, the lens in your eye becomes more rigid and most adults may start to experience problems with their ability to clearly see objects up-close, such as newspapers, books, menus, cell phones, and computer screens. This normal change in the eye’s focusing ability is called presbyopia, and while there is no cure for this naturally occurring and irreversible vision deterioration, it can be easily corrected with the use of reading glasses or contact lenses, giving you clear near vision for the rest of your life.
Headaches and eyestrain are other symptoms of presbyopia, which is different from myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) or astigmatism (distorted vision due to a irregularly shaped cornea), which are related to the shape of the eyeball and occur early in life. If you are farsighted, this means you have a refractive error (created by the shape of your eye or the curve of your cornea) that causes light to focus behind the retina, rather than directly on it. Like presbyopia, farsightedness is easily rectified with the use of doctor-prescribed reading glasses or contact lenses.
EYE HEALTH PROBLEMS
As you get older your risk for developing a number of eye and vision problems also increases. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you may have the early warning signs of an eye health problem. If it seems that you are losing peripheral or side vision, this may be a sign of glaucoma. Glaucoma occurs when the optic nerve is damaged and no longer transmits all visual images to the brain. Diabetes and hypertension, and their improper regulation, can cause blurred vision and sensitivity to light, and damage to the retina. Seeing distorted images or flashes in front of your eyes are also signs of age-related macular degeneration, a disease that affects the macula, the part of your retina that is responsible for your eye’s central vision.
Another example is a cataract, which is a clouding of the lens of the eye that can cause blurred vision. Many adults over 65 suffer from cataracts. Cataracts occur when there is a accumulation of protein in the lens. This prevents light from passing clearly through the lens, making it cloudy and causing gradual loss of vision. Cataracts, glaucoma and other eye diseases cannot be corrected through reading glasses or contact lenses. These are symptoms of eye disease and if you are experiencing any changes in your vision make sure to schedule an eye exam right away. A simple test conducted by your eye-care expert can detect and treat eye disease in its early stages.
Never forego an eye exam. Even if it’s just renewing your prescription, still make sure to undergo a regular eye exam at least every two years to monitor the health of your eyes. Needing reading glasses may be nothing more than the natural aging process, but early detection of other more serious vision problems can protect your eye health.
If you are experiencing blurred vision, book an appointment to see your local eye-care expert today. iSight Optometry has been a trusted eyecare clinic for over 60 years and our team of professionals are dedicated to maintaining the optimal health and vision of your eyes. We offer an exciting range of glasses and contact lenses to suit every budget and style. Contact us to learn more.