• By Jason Howland

Mayo Clinic Minute: Blurry vision as you age

June 16, 2021

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.

Watch: The 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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