Coronavirus - Information & Updates

Why do we need reading glasses as we get older?

Why do we need reading glasses as we get older?

Ageing can be both a joy and a pain, quite literally. Are you perhaps wondering why you can’t focus on materials that are close up to you? We reassure you that this is a completely normal part of life as the eye ages, and it most certainly happens to all of us! This process is officially referred to as presbyopia and generally occurs around the age of 40. So why then does it happen you ask?


We may find ourselves having to focus from an object that is in the distance, then having to focus on an object that is close up to us. When we do this, there are tiny muscles in the eye that push and pull on our lens to make it change it’s shape. As a consequence, this changes the overall refractive power in the eye and enables us to focus clearly on both near and far objects. As we age, this becomes much stiffer and in turn makes it a harder task for our muscles to change shape. This then results in our eyes no longer being able to have the full range of focus and we may then need to rely on our glasses or contact lenses to do the focusing for us. Believe it or not, this process actually starts when we are in our twenties, however we never notice it as we have such a large range of focus when we are at this age.




Unfortunately, presbyopia cannot be escaped even if you have never had a visual problem before! There are some key symptoms that are indicative of presbyopia. A huge sign that presbyopia has set in is during daily tasks such as reading the paper with that morning coffee – you may find that you are having to try and hold your reading material at arms length to try and focus properly. Alongside your daily tasks you may also find that you are fatigued and perhaps experience frequent headaches as you are trying to focus closely on objects that your eyes have lost the ability to focus on! Other symptoms such as having blurred vision is also a key indicator of presbyopia, so watch out for this sign too!


Presbyopia can be diagnosed via your optician when performing a thorough examination. Although there is no cure for presbyopia, you will be informed and advised of the best treatments for you. Some of which may include prescription glasses, contact lenses, reading glasses, bifocals and in some cases, surgery is also available. You can discuss all of these options with your optician to conclude which is the best option for you.

If you are experiencing any symptoms of presbyopia please do ensure that you make an appointment with your local optician. Come and visit your closest branch and contact us for more details.