It happens to the best of us. Some time around the age of 40, the vast majority of people notice a change in up-close vision. While opting for a pair of drugstore readers may be a logical first step, Dallas Optometrist Amanda Hoelscher, O.D. encourages people to ask their eye doctor about the new technology available to treat near vision loss today.As Dr. Hoelscher explains, “At Key-Whitman Eye Centers, we are able to offer patients options to treat presbyopia today that weren’t available even 6 months ago. If you were dissatisfied with the comfort or degree of vision correction you could achieve in the past, it’s worth your time to schedule a visit with your eye care practitioner.”
The first vision change people typically notice is a difficulty reading smaller print. Instead of holding that fine print closer, you may find letters are out of focus and moving reading material further out helps clear things up.
According to Dr. Hoelscher, “As presbyopia worsens with age, people notice they need more light to read the small print and have increased difficulty going from distance vision to near tasks. Like when you’re at a sporting event and switch from
reading the scoreboard to checking email on your cell phone. The eye muscles tend to get sluggish, so it will take longer to adjust your focus from far to near.”
When readers no longer fit their needs or interfere with work, patients often turn to their eye doctor for alternatives that offer more convenience and better vision correction.
“We’re so dependent on computers today, both at work and play. Patients who need to get computer vision in focus, or frequently switch from the computer to small print in their jobs, often don’t want to have a pair of reading glasses hanging off their noses. Those annoyances urge people to come in to see me for an eye exam,” Dr. Hoelscher says.
There are a number of options available to help correct near vision loss – from traditional glasses, to contact lenses, to eye surgery. These include:
1. Prescription eyeglasses.
According to Dr. Hoelscher, “You can look at it as a progression. First, we can prescribe prescription reading glasses, then we can look at a bifocal or no-line bifocal, so you don’t need to swap between different sets of glasses.”
2. Monovision or multifocal contact lenses.
For people who don’t want to wear glasses, they now have more contact lens options available than ever before. Today’s contacts also offer superior comfort, clarity and convenience compared to lenses of years past.
“You can consider monovision contact lenses where one eye sees distance and one eye sees near. Some people with great distance vision may even opt to wear a single lens to correct for presbyopia and rely on their other eye for distance.
Most of my 40+ aged patients opt for multifocal lenses that correct both distance and near vision. There are so many advances in multifocal lenses today, and I fit plenty of those,” says Dr. Hoelscher.
Recent advances in multifocal lenses – many released in the past several months – have really improved both comfort and clarity for Dr. Hoelscher’s patients.
As she explains, “Before these recent lens advances, we typically asked clients whether they wanted to focus on distance vision with decent up-close vision, or focus on up-close vision and stay functional for distance. Now with some of these new options we can accommodate near vision better.
Plus, we also have daily multifocal lens options now – new lenses that you put in each morning and throw out at the end of the day. What’s great about the daily option is the comfort stays consistent, because you’re always wearing a fresh lens. This is especially nice for patients 40 and above who experience dry eye issues – which can further complicate wearing contact lenses. Daily multifocals have really filled a niche that we couldn’t fill prior.”
3. Eye surgery and intraocular or accommodative lens implants.
Patients with cataracts who need cataract surgery now have the option to choose lens implants that correct for presbyopia along with distance vision.
“There are new high-technology lens implants that allow the majority of patients to have freedom from glasses most of the time. We offer ReSTOR® and Tecnis® multifocal lens implants as well as accommodative lens implants from Crystalens® and TrulignTM,” Dr. Hoelscher says.
More surgical options to treat presbyopia are on the horizon.
According to Dr. Hoelscher, “At Key-Whitman we’re involved in a number of exciting research projects, some involving the correction of presbyopia. Patients can look forward to more surgical options to treat near vision loss in the future.”
Rely on your eye doctor, not the drugstore, to improve vision
Buying a pair of reading glasses from the drugstore isn’t the best and only option out there.
“Plenty of advances in presbyopia correction are available, from multifocal contact lenses to surgical eye procedures. It’s important that you discuss options with your eye care practitioner instead of taking it upon yourself. Technology is changing at lightning speed, so you owe it to yourself – and to your eye health – to see your eye doctor every 1 to 2 years,” Dr. Hoelscher says.
If you would like to learn more about the latest treatments available for presbyopia, we’re here to help. For more information or to schedule in eye health exam, call (214) 220-3937 or fill out our digital form to schedule your eye exam online.
Photo Source: Dollar Photo Club