Trouble Reading Small Print

Trouble Reading Small Print?


When you are young, the lens of the eye is soft and flexible, allowing the tiny muscles inside the eye to easily reshape the lens to focus on close and distant objects. After the age of 40, this lens becomes more rigid. Because the lens can’t change shape as easily as it once did, it is more difficult to read at close range. This normal condition is called presbyopia.


How does presbyopia occur?

Presbyopia happens naturally in people as they age. Aging also affects muscle fibers around the lens making it harder for the eye to focus on up close objects. The ineffective lens causes light to focus behind the retina, causing poor vision for objects that are up close.


Symptoms of Presbyopia

 Presbyopia is a common type of vision disorder that usually occurs at around age 40, when people experience an inability to focus up close, a problem associated with refraction in the eye.

Some of the signs and symptoms include:

  • Hard time reading small print
  • Having to hold reading material farther than arm’s distance
  • Problems seeing objects that are close to you
  • Headaches
  • Eyestrain

If you experience any of these symptoms you may want to visit an eye care professional for a comprehensive dilated eye examination. If you wear glasses or contact lenses and still have these issues, a new prescription might be needed.


Treatment for Presbyopia

Eyeglasses are the simplest and safest means of correcting presbyopia. Eyeglasses for presbyopia, also known as bifocals, have higher focusing power in the lower portion of the lens. This allows you to read through the lower portion of the lens and see properly at distant through the upper portion of the lens. It is also possible to purchase reading eyeglasses. These types of glasses do not require a prescription and can help with reading vision.


Courtesy: National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health (NEI/NIH)