Why do older people need reading glasses?

We get hundreds of enquiries every month from customers who just need that little bit of reassurance regarding their sight test results or the condition of their eyes. You might not be surprised that some of these enquiries range from people asking ‘Will I go blind if I sit in a dark environment all day?’ to ‘Will my eyes change shape by watching too much TV?’. Well I hope to dispel the most common myths and answer some of your questions, regarding your eyes and vision, by writing a series of short articles that we will post over the next few weeks. So here are a couple of the most common questions that we are asked.

Question: I’m only 40. Why do I need reading glasses all of a sudden?

Answer: No. Your vision has deteriorated for a reason and only by wearing a pair of spectacles, will you be able to correct this. Just like the appearance of lines around your eyes and the annoying grey hair that now has to be either dyed or plucked, this is all part of the ageing process and it’s your body’s way of telling you that you’re not getting any younger.

If you have recently reached the ripe age of 40 then the deterioration of your vision is probably not too far away.

Far sighted vision
Darling, I think my eyes are getting worse!

This condition is called ‘Presbyopia’, which means anything in your near sight vision becomes blurred. For most of us, by the time we are 50, reading glasses will have already become an essential accessory. The old wives tales about glasses weakening your eyes are just that ad nothing more. In fact, whether you wore your glasses or not, presbyopia would progress at the same rate. So you can see why it is pointless to resist wearing reading glasses when your time comes.

Your eyes work almost the same as a camera lens. We all have a lens in the back of our eyes which changes shape as we we focus on objects at different distances. If you were to focus on an an object close up, the lens in the back of your eye becomes more curved. Focus on an abject in the distance and the lens becomes flatter. The lens is able to change shape as it is very soft and pliable. However, as we get older the lens becomes more hard and is less able to change shape as we focus at different distances. Eventually, the lens becomes so hard that it simply cannot change shape at all. It is when the lens reaches this point that we have to rely heavily on our reading glasses in order to see things close up.


By Scott Ullah

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