Are you over 40 and suddenly feel like your straining to read things right in front of your face? Eye experts at Mayo Clinic say it's actually a normal — and sometimes annoying — condition of the eye that is a part of aging.
Reporter Jason Howland explains in today's Mayo Clinic Minute.
Journalists: Broadcast-quality video (1:03) is in the downloads at the end of this post. Please courtesy: "Mayo Clinic News Network." Read the script.
If you're over 40 and your vision is starting to get fuzzy, you're not alone.
"It happens to 100% of humans. I have never yet seen a patient who does not become presbyopic. That's really the term that we use for that," says Dr. Muriel Schornack, a Mayo Clinic optometrist.
Presbyopia is a gradual loss of your eyes' ability to focus on nearby objects. It usually becomes noticeable in your early 40s and worsens until your mid-60s. It's caused by a hardening of the lens of your eye as you age. As your lens becomes less flexible, it can no longer change shape to focus on close-up images.
"It feels like you fall off a cliff. But this is really a process that's been going on for a very long time," says Dr. Schornack.
A basic eye exam can confirm presbyopia. Eyeglasses or contact lenses can correct the condition.
"I'll sometimes joke with patients that you will have a three-month period in your life where you go from, 'Well, yeah, of course I can see that' to 'Oh, my goodness, is there writing on that?' We all have a bit of a moment of truth, where we go: 'Oh, this is really not working anymore. I either need reading glasses' ― or if you already wear distance correction ― 'I need some bifocals.'"
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