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3 Myths About Age-Induced Farsightedness That Optometrists Want You To Stop Believing

You might not be able to pinpoint the exact date, but do you remember when you (or your parents or grandparents) shifted from holding their cellphones, menus, or the back of their morning cereal boxes at the usual distance from their faces, to holding them two feet away while squinting?

This slow decline in eyesight is called presbyopia, and is characterized by the loss in ability to focus up close, says optometrist Millicent Knight, OD, a senior vice president at Essilor of America. "You may begin to notice you have to hold your phone further away from your face in order to read your texts, or experience eyestrain while reading up close, particularly over a sustained time period," Dr. Knight says. Sound familiar?

You might be wondering why this happens, right? According to Dr. Knight, the crystalline lens inside the eye, which allows us to focus, loses its flexibility over time as we age, causing our focus point to move further away from our face.

"Around age 40, this change becomes noticeable as objects within arm’s reach start to blur," she says, and it can actually start happening as early as age 35 as a result of increased near point work and screen use. "Because presbyopia is caused by the aging of the eye, everyone will eventually be affected, (although the onset varies by individual), regardless of whether you’ve had 20/20 vision your whole life." Yes, even the vision all-stars of today might be affected by the hold-back-and-squint method one day.

And if you thought drugstore reading glasses were the primary answer to this problem, there's actually a far more personalized option that can work to help your eye health. Varilux® progressive lenses layer many different prescription levels on top of each other to restore seamless vision across near, middle, and far distances, which in turn provides a more comfortable vision experience.

On top of nixing the readers, Dr. Knight has more advice for dealing with age-related farsightedness, as well as intel on debunking the commonly believed myths on the topic—for the sake of your future eye health.

Keep scrolling for this optometrist's top 3 myths she wants you to stop believing about age-related farsightedness.

Myth 1: If you have had 20/20 vision your whole life, you will never need glasses

If you bragged to friends about 20/20 vision your whole life thinking you were in the clear, get ready for a whole bunch of "I told you" texts, because according to Dr. Knight, just like any other part of the body, your eyes change with age, too. "Almost everyone will become presbyopic eventually," she says.

In fact, getting regular, comprehensive eye examinations from your doctor before your eyes start to change can help with early detection of eye disease—as well as other systemic diseases—and allow you to get the proper intervention or treatment for optimal management down the road.

"There is no shame in getting the treatment you need and it’s important to take steps to ensure you’re caring for your eyes at every stage in life," Dr. Knight says. Your pride may initially take a hit, but your eyes are definitely worth it.

Myth 2: Reading glasses are a sufficient treatment for presbyopia (age-related farsightedness)

We touched on this earlier, but Dr. Knight sees how readers (or, "cheaters," as they're sometimes called) do a disservice to presbyopia patients time and time again. Since readers provide only one layer of prescription for up-close reading, you'll end up taking them on and off to look at various things at different distances throughout your day.

"Not only is this inconvenient, but it can cause headaches due to an improper prescription and eyestrain," Dr. Knight says. "Progressive lenses like Varilux, however, provide several prescriptions in one set of lenses to restore clear and seamless vision across distances." Plus, you don’t have to place them all over your house, office, and car, in hopes you'll be able to find them when you need them.

Myth 3: There is only one type of progressive lens

Of course, it's easy to run to the store and grab a pair of glasses out of convenience, but did you know there are actually around 300 different progressive lens options available to you? (And that’s not even counting the wide range of drugstore "cheaters” that offer only one level of prescription.)

Each person’s eye physiology is unique, as well as their near-point needs, therefore it's important to see eye-care professionals to determine the best spectacle lens option for your unique needs—and to make sure you're finding a high-quality solution.

"Inferior progressive lenses can cause unwanted, and sometimes dangerous, side effects like dizziness and nausea, but Varilux’s industry-leading technology is specifically designed to mitigate these side effects so wearers can focus on enjoying their best sight," Dr. Knight says.

Avoid any potential trial and error, and go ahead and make an appointment with your local Essilor Expert eye-care professional to see if Varilux progressives (with Transitions® XTRActive® lenses, if light sensitivity is a concern for you) are right for you. That way, you can start reaping the see-without-squinting benefits of proper glasses lenses—and maybe inspire your parents to do the same along the way.

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