Over 40 and Your Vision

Over 40 and your vision begins to change. The best-known problem is the "short-arm syndrome" known in the medical literature as presbyopia, but other challenges to eye health and options in vision correction begin to appear at midlife. Here are just a few:

Dry eyes. Menopause is a time of enormous changes in a woman's body, from hot flashes to dry eyes. Some of the more disagreeable symptoms of menopause are well known and clearly connected to hormonal change, such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and mood changes.

Some of the symptoms of menopause are not as well known and not as clearly connected to hormonal change, such as dry eyes.

The 40's are also a time we begin to be concerned about how to improve night vision. In adults in their 40's and 50's, correcting problems with night vision is sometimes just a matter of good nutrition.

In adults in their 40's and 50's, adding zinc supplements to beta-carotene or mixed carotenoids will usually eliminate night vision problems when the underlying problem is nutritional deficiency.

There is also the previously mentioned short-arm syndrome. Presbyopia is the common, age-related change in vision that appears about the age of 40, also known as farsightedness.

About age 40, the lenses begin to loose their flexibility as they thicken. This thickening of the lens makes it difficult to focus on objects closer than about 18 inches (45 cm) in front of the eyes.

You can be farsighted without having presbyopia, which refers to the development of the condition in midlife, but most people only experience farsightedness after the age of 40.

Another consideration of over 40 and your vision is the expansion of the options for vision correction. Unlike the recent past, the options for correcting presbyopia are not limited to just bifocal lenses. Lenses can also be made as trifocals, with three points of focus for near, far, and intermediate vision.

Trifocal lenses have an addition segment above the bifocal for seeing things in the not-near and not-far intermediate zone, generally about an arm's length away. And if you'd rather not have other people know that you use reading glasses, you may be interested in multifocal contact lenses or progressive lenses.

Over 40 and Your Vision also describes the pros and cons of corrective lenses for special situations. Night driving glasses require careful selection—and amber and yellow lenses are products you should always avoid.

Occupational bifocals and trifocals are special-purpose eyewear, not designed for everyday use, but nearly anyone over the age of 40 who needs bifocal or multifocal lenses can benefit from having a second pair in an occupational design.

With the right optical care and the right vision correction you can keep seeing clearly for many years to come. Keep coming back to Over 40 and Your Vision for our growing collection of articles on visual health.


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