Beginning in the early to mid-40s, many adults may start to have problems seeing clearly at close distances, especially when reading and working on the computer. This is among the most common problems adults develop between ages 41 to 60. This normal change in the eye's focusing ability, called presbyopia, will continue to progress over time.
My first memory of my mother reading anything other than her teaching stuff was in elementary school when she came home one day with a whole stack of paperbacks from the book-bargain bin Book Sale. By the time I was in high school and she was in her early 40s, she had started wearing glasses. She blamed her deteriorating eye-sight on those paperback books and cautioned us to never read in dim light; to never go to bed with wet hair (not sure if she really said this lol) and sealed the argument with the claim that blindness ran in the family (I actually only know of one, my grandmother's younger brother Ely who had been blind for as long as I can remember growing up).
Initially, you may need to hold reading materials farther away to see them clearly. Or you may need to remove your glasses to see better up close. Print in the newspaper or on a restaurant menu may appear blurred, especially under dim lighting.
Over three years ago, I started having problems focusing on my computer screen. I even blamed it on the fact that it was a PC and even requested for a new one, a bigger and brighter 27-inch iMac. But the problems persisted. There were times later in the day when I would feel slightly faint, my vision blurring. One day my colleague asked me why I was adjusting the distance between myself and the computer screen and I told her that the screen didn't seem to be that clear as I thought it would be. Really she said surprised. Could it just be the fact that maybe you might need glasses? The thought that it was probably my eye-sight all along didn't occur to me at all. You watch out for wrinkles (a good 10 years away I think) or that tell-tale shot of pain in your joints, but you never quite realize that your eye-sight is getting bad, dismissing it as simply part of your exhausting day's side-effects. So off I went and had my first eye-test with local optometry chain OPSM. I remember the day I got my first 'proper' glasses. We went to a cafe for brunch after picking the glasses up and there was that startling moment of realization staring at the food in front of me looking as clear as an HD image, that you hadn't been really looking at the world the way you used to. Something had irrevocably changed and it didn't need your permission or approval. I felt a bit sad but comforted myself with the thought that at least, I got a really great-looking pair of Rayban frames.
During these years, schedule a comprehensive eye examination with your optometrist at least every two years to check for developing eye and vision problems. Don't rely on the limited driver's license vision test or other insufficient vision screenings to determine if you have an eye or vision problem.
Adults over 40 who have the following health or work issues may be particularly at risk for developing eye and vision problems:
- Chronic, systemic conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
- A family history of glaucoma or macular degeneration.
- A highly visually demanding job or work in an eye-hazardous occupation.
- Health conditions related to high cholesterol, thyroid, anxiety or depression, and arthritis for which you take medications. Many medications, even antihistamines, have vision side effects.
So I'm like over a year overdue for the required two-year re-test and at the back of my mind, it's the same strange consistent denial of those little signs- the eye fatigue, shot proof-reading levels as you miss out on words, little twinges in your head at 4pm. So after two cancellations, I finally made it back to the OPSM branch in Papakura which is easier commuting to than the other branch where I had my first test. I've only learned recently that when you go for an eye-test, your results- or your script- is yours; you're not obliged to order your glasses from the tester. OPSM has always been the most expensive one of the chains because they carry high-end labels. Woe to you if you're a label whore. Woe to you if you couldn't afford it. But I can- and would I wear anything else but Raybans??? I must admit though that after two glasses with them, I could feel a slight burn in my pocket (each pair with the lens cost well over $500).
I've discovered that there a million cheaper but stylish frames out there. There is a site called clearly where you simply send in your script and they make your glasses for you with nice frames starting at under $65. I got a pair from them once, but either I got bits of my script entered incorrectly (I'll make sure I get the script typed as opposed to written down by hand and then photographed with a phone camera!), or the quality was simply not there because the lens view was all wrong. Plus, I chose a frame shape that I later realised didn't really fit my face shape.
I've been asking around and I think you get what you pay for. The very thorough 45 minutes I spent at OPSM was apparently vastly different (according to co-workers) from the hurried, somewhat fast-food orientated operation of the other competitor chain (Tommy Hilfiger, honestly?). There were a lot of steps- photographing, examination of the inside, heaps of quick-flashing lights; the eye-ball pressure test involved a slightly stinging application of a desensitising liquid followed by yellow dye which I feared, dyed my eyeballs an alarming shade of hepatitis-yellow.
And when it was all done, my eyes rested on a pair of frames I was actually praying not to see in the shop- Rayban Wayfarer frames; a perfect match to my Rayban Wayfarer sunglasses.
Now that's a sight for sore eyes...