You Can See Clearly Now
And if you can't, new higher-tech glasses, contacts, or easy surgery will bring even the numbers on your cell phone into focus
The Problem: You've worn contacts forever, but suddenly they're painful and scratchy.
The Fix: Moisturizers for your eyes. Dry eye, which is linked to hormonal changes like menopause, affects 22% of women, one large study found. Often, the problem is so subtle, lens wearers may just describe their eyes as gritty or tender, explains Christine W. Sindt, O.D., a contact lens expert at University of Iowa Hospital. There's a wide range of artificial tears, both OTC and prescription, and there are easily inserted punctal plugs doctors can use (like a bathtub stopper) to block tear ducts from draining.
Lifestyle changes can also help, says Dr. Williams. She suggests using a humidifier at home and setting car heaters to "feet only" mode. Get plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, too: A study of more than 32,000 women at Brigham and Women's Hospital found that those who ate more tuna were less likely to have dry eyes than those who ate less or none. Or you can take omega-3 supplements (Dr. Williams recommends 1,000 mg twice a day). Research is still preliminary, but in a recent French study, patients with mild to moderate dry-eye syndrome seemed to show improvement when they took omega-3 supplements for three months (the participants' regimen also included vitamins and zinc, as well as omega-6).
The Problem: You recently switched from off-the-shelf reading glasses to prescription. They work fine most of the time, but not with your iPad.
The Fix: Push your glasses up. People who use store-bought readers tend to wear them low on their noses, explains Shirley Earley, president of the Opticians Association of America. But "real" glasses, especially progressives, are usually fitted higher on the face, so they may take getting used to. If you still have trouble, ask your optician for a refitting; bring your iPad, so she can see where you hold it.
The Problem: When you drive at night, you get glare and weird halos.
The Fix: Coated lenses. In a recent survey of drivers who wore glasses or contacts, 48% said that glare or light sensitivity got to them at night, with 61% bothered by oncoming headlights and 28% troubled by halos. Digital progressive lenses combined with an antireflective coating improve night vision, making it sharper and cutting glare. You can also choose antireflective coating alone. This ultrathin film reduces light reflection from the surface of your lenses, cutting glare and allowing the lenses to transmit more light. Beyond helping with driving, an antireflective coating improves your vision when you're reading with a lamp or on an e-reader or computer.