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Which multifocal or reading glasses are right for you, part 1

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It’s great being over 40.

No, 40 is not really the new 20. That’s because at 40 you really begin to come into your own, personally and professionally, unlike when you’re 20. It’s in your 40s when you start to figure out who you really are. Sure, you’ve made some mistakes. Who hasn’t? But now that you’re over 40 you find you’re actually learning from your mistakes, rather than making the same ones over and over again.

But just at the point you start to hit your stride, you also start noticing that physically, certain things don’t work as well as they used to.

Like your eyes, for example.

It used to be that when you were younger, whether you were nearsighted, farsighted or had perfect vision, your eyes could adjust to see things both far away and up close, whether you were looking through prescription eyeglasses or not. But now that you’ve entered your fifth decade, a curious thing happens. You notice you’re not able to see things up close as well as you used to.

Reading an instructional manual? No way.

The directions on a pill bottle? Fuggedaboutit.

Now you find yourself constantly moving what you’re trying to read back and forth, back and forth, as you attempt to find the exact position where you can see it clearly. You do this so much you start to feel like a trombone player.

You don’t want to admit it, but you know it’s true. It’s time to start thinking about multifocal glasses. Or at least reading glasses.

But what should you get? If you already wear glasses to correct nearsighted or farsighted vision, the first thing that probably pops into your mind is bifocals. But what enters your mind right after that is grandma, rocking and knitting and watching “Matlock.”

That’s not me, you say to yourself. I don’t want people looking at me, seeing that line on my glasses and thinking, “Out to pasture.” You heard there are such things as no-line bifocals, or multifocal glasses, called progressives, but you’re not sure about them. You’ve heard that some people have a hard time finding their visual sweet spot.

So you consider separate pairs of glasses, for distance, computer, and reading vision. But if you wear corrective lenses already, you might not want to have to worry about using multiple pairs of glasses. “Glasses strewn all over the house?” Uh-uh. “Reading glasses on a chain?” Even more emphatically: Uh-uh. Once again the dreaded image comes to mind: Grandma.

Don’t worry. You’re not your grandma. You’re years away from the early bird special at Denny’s. All you need is a little help with your presbyopia.

My what? OK, we’ll explain. When you’re young and your eye muscles are elastic, they easily expand and contract to allow the lens of your eye to change shape to enable you to see objects clearly at various distances.
This process is called accommodation.

But after your eye muscles do this for about 40 years, they get a little tired and stiff, just like your other muscles. Consequently, no longer can your eye muscles so easily expand and contract to enable the accommodation process.

This condition is called presbyopia.

If you have it, and once you hit your 40s there’s no way around it, you’re going to need some kind of reading magnification power. So let’s look at the various options to see which is right for you.



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