Eye Exams - Eye Conditions

Normal healthy, young eyes have a wide range of focus from far distance to a few
 centimetres. In a young eye the lenses are very flexible. Muscles within the eye have the 
ability to change the shape if the lens and by doing so, change its focus. This change
 happens so quickly that we don’t even know our eye is refocusing!

As we get older, the lens of the eye thickens and slowly loses its flexibility, making it
 difficult to hold objects very close and see clearly. Around the age of 40 to 45, vision 
at our normal reading distance becomes blurry. We have to hold print further away to
 avoid tired eyes.

This loss of focusing ability is called PRESBYOPIA. It is not a disease, but a normal
 change which affects everyone. Presbyopia doesn’t occur suddenly. It doesn’t affect
 distance vision. It is a change which begins in adolescence and can not be prevented.

Early signs of Presbyopia:

  • Difficulty seeing fine objects or small print

  • Reading or sewing held further away

  • Headaches, tired or sore eyes when concentrating on reading

  • The need to increase lighting to see clearly for close work

Treatment of Presbyopia

Your optometrist, after examining your eyes, will usually recommend spectacle lenses 
designed to give clear and comfortable vision at close distances.
The simplest form of lens is a pair of reading glasses which are worn as necessary for 
sewing, reading etc. Unfortunately, they will probably make your long distance 
vision blurred and you may prefer to have a ‘look-over’ design, which allows you to
 watch television without removing your spectacles. Bifocal or progressive focus 
lenses are often recommended, especially if your distance vision needs correcting. 
‘Hobby Glasses’ 
These can help but it is unusual for a person to have their vision perfectly corrected
 with ready-made spectacles. For many people they will help initially but often fail to 
give comfortable or relaxed vision. For a correction best suited to your individual
 needs a professional examination of your vision is needed. Once your ideal
 prescription is determined the lenses must be carefully fitted to ensure that they are
 correctly positioned for your eyes.

If your eyes haven’t been examined recently by an optometrist or
 ophthalmologist, you could have an eye disease which may lead to permanent 
vision loss if not treated. This is true even if you have no identifiable symptoms.
 Regular examinations are essential

Between the ages of 45-55, vision changes rapidly and frequent lens changes may be
required. Regular examinations are essential to ensure that your eyes are healthy and
give you efficient and comfortable vision.

Using bifocal or multifocal lenses

Bifocal lenses give clear distant vision through the upper part of the lens, and clear
 near vision through the segment or ‘window’ at the bottom. Progressive lenses have a 
graded change from top to bottom and give clear vision at any distance, though with a 
narrower field of view. They are the ‘bifocal lenses without a line’. As age increases,
 there is a gap between the range of clear near vision, and the beginning of clear
 distance vision. When this occurs, it may be necessary to consider trifocal lenses or 
progressive lenses to give clear vision for objects at arms’ length.

Helpful Hints

  • When reading or sewing, remember to tilt your eyes down – not your head.

  • On stairs, at the kerb and when getting on and off buses, tilt your head so that you
are looking through the distance portion.
  • When reading a newspaper, fold it in half and learn to move your head to scan
from column to column.

  • Keep your frame properly adjusted to ensure that the lenses are in the correct
position. Don’t hesitate to return for checking and adjustment.

  • For sports, bifocals may be inappropriate. Discuss your sports and hobbies with
your optometrist.

Special Needs

If you use a computer, play the piano, or require perfect vision for special work
 situations, tell your optometrist, and if possible have a friend measure the distance 
from the computer, music or work to your eyes.

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