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Facebook Fan Submitted Topic # 4: Vision Changes with Age

We asked for suggestions from our Facebook fans for blog posts and we got some great responses.   This is the fourth of  5 posts on Dr.  Beach’s blog  to be based on these topics/questions.

David, a CEC Facebook fan, asks:    “What do I do? As I age, my eyesight is getting worse and I never wore glasses before.”

Thanks David for the question!    Vision changes with age can be frustrating to a lot of people, especially those who’ve been able to live their entire lives free of glasses or contact lenses.    There are some naturally occurring changes within the eye, though, that are creating these visual challenges.   But of course, there are some medical conditions of the eye that also can causes changes in vision and that is why I encourage every patient to see their optometrist for a comprehensive exam annually—–regardless of how well they see!

The most common development over time is Presbyopia, which results in blurry vision while reading up close.    Presbyopia is the result of physical changes that occur within the eye.   The cornea, on the front surface of the eye, provides the majority of the eye’s focusing power but it is a fixed amount of focus.   The crystalline lens, within the eye, provides an adjustable focus which allows the eye to clearly focus on objects up close.    Somewhere between 35 and 45 years, this crystalline lens starts to lose its ability to focus up close.   The loss may be due to thickening within in the lens itself or stiffening of the muscle fibers responsible for flexing the lens, but either way once the process starts it typically worsens over a long period of time.

The change can be addressed by either glasses or contact lenses.   While Lasik doesn’t directly address Presbyopia, other surgical options are being used to treat Presbyopia.  One such option is the Restor lens, which is a modified cataract surgery in which the crystalline lens is removed and replaced with a multifocal implant, allowing for distance and reading vision to be restored.

The best course of action is a comprehensive examination in which the optometrist can evaluate your vision, your complete ocular health to rule out ocular disease, and an assessment and recommendation for possible treatments.

Thanks for the question, David.

Dr. Beach.