Presbyopia is the normal age-related loss of focusing ability that affects virtually everyone after age 40. At some point, small print becomes impossible to read without multifocal lenses (if you already wear eyeglasses for nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism) or single vision reading glasses (if you don’t need prescription lenses to see distant objects clearly).

Multifocal and single vision eyeglass lenses available for presbyopia correction include:

  1. Traditional bifocals have a clearly defined zone in the top half of the lens for distance vision and a zone for near vision in the bottom half of the lens. The zones are separated by a noticeable line
  2. These lenses have three different zones for seeing at varying distances — near, intermediate, and far — and can be custom made for you to accommodate your lifestyle or occupation.
  3. Progressive lenses. These lenses have many advantages over bifocals and trifocals because they allow the wearer to focus at many different distances, not just two or three. Because they have no lines, progressive lenses allow a smooth, comfortable transition from one distance to another. They are a much better option for active, multitasking people.
  4. Variable focus lenses. These innovative multifocal lenses look like single vision lenses, but they can be adjusted (with a small dial on the frame) to provide clear vision at any distance. You cannot see distant, intermediate and near objects simultaneously with these lenses, but you can “dial in” the power you need to see clearly at a specific distance, with a larger field of view than that provided by conventional multifocal lenses or progressive lenses.

Reading glasses. These are single vision lenses that contain magnifying power that allows a person with naturally good distance vision to see clearly up close after the onset of presbyopia. Reading vision is restored when wearing these lenses, but distant objects will be blurry through them. Reading glasses can be purchased with or without a prescription, and generally are available in powers ranging from +1.00 to +3.00 diopters.

Very important: Always make sure you discuss and make decisions about your eye care based upon a formal appointment with your optician.

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