man in glasses

Why do so many people over 40 need those annoying little reading glasses?


As you start creeping towards your 40’s, many adults find that they start to struggle to see clearly at close distances. More specifically when they are reading or on a computer. This is extremely common in those aged between 41-60. It is completely normal, as we age; the eye’s ability to focus becomes weaker.

When you’re younger, the lens inside each of your eyes is considered to be flexible and focuses when you look at objects up close. The lenses in our eyes stiffen with age and thicken, so it is harder to focus on something that is up-close. Due to this, people tend to need reading glasses after the age of 40. This is called Presbyopia and will continue to develop over time. Unfortunately there is no escape, even if you’ve had perfect vision. Those who are near-sighted will also start to notice that their vision blurs when they wear their usual glasses and/or contact lenses that had been prescribed to correct their distance vision.

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What are the symptoms of Presbyopia?

  • You may find that all of a sudden you have to hold your favourite book at arm’s length to see the words clearly.
  • You may find that rather than your glasses helping, you are instead taking them off to see things better up close.
  • Words are appearing blurry; especially in poorly lit environments are signs that show us that action needs to be taken.
  • You may also find that you are having more frequent headaches, strain in your eyes and fatigue that makes reading and near vision tasks more tiring and uncomfortable.

What can help Presbyopia?

When you hit the age of 40, it is a good idea to visit your optician at least every 2 years so that you eye health can be monitored. If you need to change your prescription this can be done, that way the struggle to do things that require seeing at a close distance is eliminated. Reading glasses is a popular option that helps combat the effects of presbyopia and is a quick and easy option to turn to.

Alternatively, some people consider Presbyond. This is a better option for those who are tired of wearing contacts and glasses and the procedure is quick and simple. Presbyond is a laser vision correction procedure that increases the depth of field in each eye so that there is a continuum from near through to intermediate to distance where objects are perceived clearly without any aid. It has two components, the surgery itself and most importantly, the brain learning how to adapt to this new vision. When successful, this adaptation happens within a few weeks or months at most. But, to make sure that this will be the case, a trial can be done to ensure that your brain will be able to cope.

Next steps

Presbyopia is completely normal and we’re all going to have to deal with it sometimes after we turn 40. There are multiple options out there including glasses, contacts and surgery, all of which will be able to relieve the frustration and inconvenience that can come along with presbyopia. If you are beginning to notice signs and symptoms or, you have had enough of living with reading glasses, book a consultation with our surgeon, Mr John Bolger. At this consultation we can give your eyes an examination and you can discuss your options for the best presbyopia treatment.

About the experts

Mr John Bolger | Consultant Ophthalmologist / Clinic Director


John Bolger is a Consultant Ophthalmologist and Clinic Director at My-iClinic. He specialises in ophthalmology, laser refractive surgery (SMILE, Presbyond, LASIK, PRK, PTK), refractive lens exchange (RLE), cataract surgery, glaucoma treatment and macular degeneration.

Over the course of his career, John Bolger has carried out over 35,000 cataract operations, 20 of which were for eye surgeons. He has also taught over 1500 young ophthalmologists worldwide as they begin their surgical careers.

Bolger has observed and played a part in the evolution of modern ophthalmology. He was one of the first surgeons to introduce microincision cataract surgery to the UK; he witnessed the advent of the femtosecond laser that is used in SMILE procedures and is seeing huge progress in the treatment of glaucoma and wet macular degeneration.

Remaining at the forefront of these advancements ensures that he is always providing his patients with the very best and latest treatments, whatever their condition.

In his free time, John Bolger enjoys flying helicopters, playing classical guitar, baking bread and pastries, and making fresh pasta.