These should be the golden years. But instead of dusting off that grand library you’ve amassed and catching up on your reading, you find yourself straining to see the words without a magnifying glass or getting a headache after just a couple minutes of reading. Instead of driving across town to catch up with old friends or making sure you never miss your grandkid’s little league game, you find yourself struggling to feel safe on the roads after twilight and staying put instead.
Presbyopia – also known as “old eyes,” “tired eyes” or literally “old man eyes” in ancient Greek – can seem like just a fact of life. It is, after all, a natural part of aging. But it doesn’t necessarily need to significantly hinder your quality of life.
Here’s what we mean:
Presbyopia basically happens when the crystalline lens in your eye loses some of its flexibility. If your eyes were video cameras, the lens is what properly handles all the light and color and vivid details that you see. Normally, the lens’ flexibility allows it to adapt when looking at objects at different distances. But over time, one of two basic things can happen: The lens will harden, essentially locking it into the long-distance position. Or the muscles that bend and straighten the lens can weaken, which – again – basically making it stuck in one setting.
Unfortunately, there aren’t really any “miracle treatments” in the way that LASIK surgery can repair nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. The technology and medicine to either strengthen those muscles or soften the lens just isn’t yet available. There are surgeries available to solve the distance and near problems: You may have heard of Crystalens or ReStor lenses. Basically, the surgeon removes the lens inside the eye and replaces it with a new, artificial lens. This is cataract surgery as they have been doing for 35 years, just the lenses to implant have improved. Both Crystalens and ReStor have their best results with people who actually have cataracts, or whose vision is very poor without correction. If you are unhappy with contacts or glasses, ask Drs. Peck and Allen about surgical options. You may be a candidate. The advertisements for both Crystalens and ReStor promise perfect vision, but the reality can be quite different. For many patients, staying in glasses or contacts is the best option for optimum vision.
An attractive pair of corrective eyeglasses or contact lenses can make all the difference in the world – and free you to live your aging years in the manner you’d like most unhindered by blurry pages or frightening roads. And here at ECEW, our Carrollton optometrists are proud to offer an unmatched line of attractive, affordable, effective frames and lenses, including women’s frames, men’s frames, and frames for kids and teens.