Approaching 40 and Having Trouble with Near Tasks? What are Your Options? (Presybyopia)

By Dr. Richard Barnstein

When I turned 40 a few years back, I told all of my friends and family, “40’s the new 20!” Unfortunately, that doesn’t always apply to the changes that can occur with your near visual tasks. Whether it’s the computer, surfing the net on your smart phone, texting, or desk work, eventually most of us around 40 (give or take a few years) start to notice some forms of eye strain at near. Presbyopia is when the ability of your eyes to focus at near start to gradually decrease. Some say it has to do with a weakening of the focusing muscles. Others say it has to do with a hardening of the material around the lens in the eye where it decreases it’s flexibility to focus at near. One thing we know for sure…IT HAPPENS EVENTUALLY!


1. Single Vision Reading/Computer Glasses: This is a simple solution, where it’s still important to visit your eye doctor to get the most accurate prescription. Over the counter readers can seem to help, but they do not correct any astigmatism (oval shape of the eye which causes distortion), and most people have different prescriptions in each eye. To minimize strain at near, be sure to visit your eye doctor to obtain the most accurate near prescription.
2. Progressive lenses (no line bifocals): This gives people the ability to see at both distance and near, without having 2 pairs of glasses, or having to take reading glasses off to see at distance. It’s important to note that not all progressive lenses are the same. Many discount retail opticals sell progressives at a low price, but the optics can be lower in quality. At Professional Vision, we fit a premium progressive with high quality optics, which can give a wider reading area, less distortion, and a smoother transition from distance to near.
3. Contact Lenses (Multifocal Options): The doctors at Professional Vision specialize in “difficult to fit” contact lenses. Personally, I wear a one day disposable multifocal contact lens in one eye, and a one day astigmatism contact lens in the other eye. Sound complicated? It works great for me! There are some fantastic contact lenses out there today to help with those approaching 40 that suffer from eyestrain at near.

If you have any other questions about options to help with near tasks and 40, feel free to contact me. Have a great day!

About Eyedrbarnstein

Dr. Richard Barnstein is an optometrist / partner with Professional Vision in the Baltimore area. ( Timonium and Carney ) Professional Vision is a boutique eyecare practice, with fashionable designer frames and sunglasses. We have an eye doctor available for eye appointments for contacts, comprehensive eye exams, and treatment of eye emergencies 6 days a week, at Timonium & Carney. Dr. Richard Barnstein, a Baltimore native, graduated from the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (now Salus University) in 1994. He attended James Madison University (1987-90) where he was accepted early into optometry school. Dr. Barnstein is therapeutically licensed to treat eye disease, and diagnoses and manages glaucoma. He also specializes in difficult contact lens fittings, dry eye disease, and LASIK co-management. Dr. Richard Barnstein is a member of the American Optometric Association and the Maryland Optometric Association. Dr. Richard Barnstein enjoys spending time with his wife, 2 children, and puppy goldendoodle. He's an avid Ravens, Terps, and Orioles fan, and loves live music. Profession Vision on Twitter Dr. Richard Barnstein on Twitter Check out Dr. Barnstein's Live Music and Sports Blog, Farmerstanproductions!
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