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Why Do I Suddenly Need Reading Glasses?

This is a common question in those of us who have crested the 40 year hill.  Don’t worry, you haven’t done anything wrong.  You didn’t ruin your vision by reading comic books by dim flashlight late into the night as a child.  Your lack of a carrot rich diet is not finally catching up to you.  It’s simply the natural progression of your vision. DeerParkVision_Presbyopia

Inside your eye, just behind your pupil, is an apparatus called the Crystalline Lens.  It is a small lens attached to tiny muscles that can bend it and shape it in order to focus the light clearly on the back of your eye.  This little lens accomplishes about 40% of your eye’s focusing power.  As the years go by, this lens becomes less pliable and the muscles that move it become a little weaker which means it has a harder time bending itself into the tight bundle it needs in order to focus on things that are very close.  As the lens continues to get tougher and the muscles weaken, more of the near focusing power gets lost until you notice that your arms aren’t long enough to get things to the place where you can see them clearly.

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Fear not!  There are several options for conquering the reading distance.  Of course, glasses are the most common and easiest option – either readers that you carry with you or a bifocal that you can wear all the time.  Contact lens technology is also rapidly growing to accommodate our ever growing need for multiple distance focusing and there are several excellent multifocal lenses on the market.  There are other less popular surgical options as well, but all of these can be discussed with your Optometrist at your next exam.  Until then, happy reading!