Vision Health

Is It Time for Bifocals?

Presbyopia, the gradual loss of the eye’s ability to focus on objects up close, is a common and even inevitable part of aging. According to the National Eye Institute, it affects both nearsighted and farsighted people.

But, the NEI adds, those who do a lot of close visual work, such as working with a computer or intensive reading, are at risk of developing presbyopia earlier than other people. The Institute recommends that people who do a lot of close work take a 10-minute break every one to two hours to give eyes a break. During your break, the NEI says, focus on objects at a middle or long distance away to give your eyes a rest from close focusing. Additionally, use bright lighting when reading.

Unfortunately, presbyopia can’t be reversed. But it can be effectively treated with corrective lenses. Marc Weinstein, optometrist and co-founder of, has some advice on when it might be time for you to consider bifocals:

Holding books and newspapers far away: You will notice yourself slowly needing to hold your reading material, like the menu, farther away from your eyes in order to focus. The farther away it is, the less stress it will have on your eyes in order to focus.

Headaches: You are experiencing a gradual increase in frequency of headaches especially after reading or an activity that requires close up work.

Eye Strain: Eye fatigue or drowsiness could happen during activities that require fine visual detail such as drawing, writing, needlepoint, or computer use.

Driving: Have you noticed that when you’re driving, you can see clearly into the distance but have trouble focusing in on signs or indicators on your dashboard such as the speedometer?

Pairs of glasses: Do you have more than one pair of glasses for a different reason other than style and outfit color matching? If you’ve been needing a pair of reading glasses to switch off with your distance pair, it might be time for a pair of bifocals.

Additionally, experts advise that you have a yearly dilated eye exam to monitor the state of your vision.

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