It starts in your 40s: Suddenly you're having trouble reading smaller print on the computer, electronic devices and books. You feel frustrated holding a menu farther from your face to make out blurry letters. You may even get headaches as you strain to read print that just seems smaller than it used to be. The good news is, you're not alone. This is a normal condition called "presbyopia" that affects many in their 40s and beyond - and there are positive steps you can take to avoid the eyestrain and headaches that come with it.
If this sounds familiar, here are things you can do to alleviate your vision problems.
Make it larger
This may sound simple, but with computers and devices, it's easy to make the print larger. With so many working from home, enlarging what's on the screen is a commonplace solution. There are different ways to increase font size or images on any device. With touch-screen devices, your fingers can enlarge print you're trying to read. On computers, you can use a zoom-in feature to make fonts larger. For PCs, use the "CTRL" button with the plus sign (on a Mac, use the Command button with the plus sign). Additional options to make all images larger are found in Settings (or System Preferences on a Mac).
With print, your only option is to seek out large-print publications.
Use reading glasses
Another option is getting over-the-counter reading glasses, which can help you read small print wherever you encounter it. You can find them at pharmacies, retailer shops and even online stores, but choosing just the right ones can be hard and time-consuming.
If you don't know the magnification strength you need, you'll stand at the array of readers at the store trying on pair after pair, trying to figure out which one works. You'll try the "self-tests" offered at these locations, which are unscientific and hard to follow. Additionally, the store conditions do not replicate what you experience while reading a book or working on the computer at home. It's common to choose an overly strong magnification that looks clear at the store but may provide too much magnification - creating another problem.
"When you wear a pair of glasses that have more magnification than you need, you're forcing your brain to work with that correction," says Phoebe Yu, vice president of marketing, EyeQue based in the US. "It may work for a while, but if you continue wearing the glasses, you'll develop ocular headaches or migraines."
Discover what strength readers you need
Fortunately, there's a new app that tests your vision from the comfort of your home. All you need is an iPhone X or newer model, and the EyeQue MyReaderNumber app from Apple's App Store to determine what strength reading glasses you need. MyReaderNumber is a first-of-its-kind solution that delivers personalized measurements for near-reading distance and mid-distance (computer use), customized based on your age and distance preference. You simply capture two distances using your iPhone's front-facing camera and augmented reality technology, and see the results instantly. You will likely need a different pair of glasses for reading books versus working on a computer, depending on your preferences. You can then purchase reading glasses through local retailers or online stores, and you can share your Near-Vision Reading Add (NV-ADD) results with an eye doctor, or the app with your friends.
"Many people struggle to find the right readers for their personal use. The MyReaderNumber app offers people the freedom to see clearly and pursue what's important in their lives," says John Serri, PhD, co-founder and CEO of EyeQue. "This technology is delightfully easy to use and was developed using tried-and-tested optometry principles that deliver personalized results customized to the individual."
While the app provides useful information about the strength of readers you need, this vision test is not a substitute for a complete eye exam, and cannot provide information about medical conditions such as glaucoma.
Get an eye exam
With any changes in your vision, and especially as you get older, getting regular eye health exams is recommended, even if you don't need glasses or contact lenses. - BPT