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Eye Health Center

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Your Vision in Adulthood and Middle Age

Vision changes are one of the first ways your body lets you know you're getting older.

They're usually subtle at first, often beginning in middle age, and can include these problems:

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You have to hold books and newspapers farther away to read them.

What it could be: Presbyopia, or the inability to focus up close.

Presbyopia is one of the most common vision problems in middle age. As you get older, the lens of your eye becomes less flexible. A stiff lens can't focus clearly.

What to do: If reading is harder than it used to be, make an appointment for an eye exam. You might need glasses or contacts.

Reading glasses are available with and without a prescription. You can use them for close-up viewing, like reading a menu or book.

If you need help seeing both near and far, bifocals correct for close-up and distant focus. Progressive lenses or trifocals can also help you see both near and far.

Contact lenses can help correct presbyopia without the need for reading glasses. You have several choices, including bifocal contacts. Multifocal contact lenses allow you to see near, far, and everywhere in between.

Some doctors suggest wearing a contact for near vision in one eye and for distance vision in the other eye.

The FDA has approved an implant called Kamra Inlay which can be surgically placed in one eye of a patient with presbyopia to help improve near vision. Laser surgery may also be an option.

See your eye doctor to discuss your options.


Your eyes feel dry and irritated all the time.

What it could be: Dry eye syndrome.

As you get older, your eyes naturally make less tears. Having laser eye surgery or wearing contact lenses can make the problem worse.

What to do: Dry eyes are more than just irritating. Your eyes need to stay wet to keep them healthy. Dry eyes will hurt your vision if you let it go for a long time. If you've got mild dry eyes, artificial tears, which can be bought without a prescription, can bring back the moisture your eyes are missing.

You should see your eye doctor if over-the-counter artificial tears don’t relieve your symptoms. There are other treatment options, and your doctor can check if the dry eyes are a symptom of a bigger problem.

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