If you’ve found your way to this blog post, then you probably suspect you need reading glasses. It’s not as simple as text being blurry when you read, as our eyes can often work overtime to make sure we can see what we need to. The need for corrective lenses in order to see up-close objects clearly is call presbyopia and it is a very common condition. In fact, it’s pretty much guaranteed to happen to you if you live long enough – it’s just a matter of time. In modern life, there are so many things that aren’t good for our eyes, such as televisions, computer screens, smartphones, and books. Before you even book an appointment with an optometrist, here are some tell-tale signs that you may need reading glasses.
1) Regular Headaches
You might have heard of this sign before: if the muscles in your eyes are having to strain for you to see things clearly, this constant strain can induce a headache. Your eyes and brain do their best to see images clearly, and they can pick up the slack a little if you require corrective lenses and aren’t wearing any. However, this causes your eyes to work harder over long periods of time, which can cause a stress headache. This problem is usually compounded because all of these activities require concentration, so you’re often too distracted to realise that you have a headache until its really bad. As many of us work at computer screens, this can impact our professional lives, making us cranky and less efficient. Which leads on to the next sign…
2) Falling Asleep at the Computer
As many of us spend hours on end at computer screens, putting our eyes under constant strain, those with presbyopia are under even more strain as the muscles in their eyes work overboard to keep the small text and lights on the computer screen clear for us to read. This constant strain can cause our eyes to get very tired and make us feel sleepy. As with headaches, this often happens at work, so it can impact someone’s professional life. If you sometimes get a little sleepy later in the work day and find yourself nodding off at your computer, then don’t reach for your sixth cup of coffee, reach for the phone and book an appointment with an optician.
3) Halos Around Bright Lights
There’s another slightly less common sign you can look out for that usually means you need reading glasses. Look out for little halos/rings of light around sources of light, such as candles, car headlights, etc. Perhaps you’ve been seeing halos for a while now and didn’t know that they were a sign of presbyopia. Halos can also be a symptom that you have cataracts. A cataract is when the clear lens in your eye goes cloudy and it can be caused by several things, including regular exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet light. If you see halos and have slightly blurry vision, then these might be early signs that you have a cataract. You can read more about cataracts on All About Vision’s resource and make sure you book an appointment with an optician.
4) You Need a Bright Light to Read
The last two signs that you may need reading glasses are concerned with reading books, and they can come on so gradually (over years) that you might just think that things have always been this way. One sign that you may require reading glasses is that you need a very bright light in order to read a book. As you get older, you need more and more light to read. In fact, some studies have shown that the average 60 year old requires approximately three times as much light to read as most 20 year olds. Needing a brighter light to read is just a part of getting older, but it’s also a sign that your eyes need a little help to focus on the small text in a book.
5) Your Arm Gets Tired When You Read a Book
This final sign is even more subtle, as it is in your shoulder and arm, not your eyes. It is normal for us to subconsciously change our reading position to get comfortable and to see the text more clearly. This is something most of us do without realising we’re doing it. For people who need reading glasses, their vision is stronger the further the book is from their eyes, so they hold the book at arm’s length. This can tire out your arm, particularly your shoulder. So, after a few chapters, massage your shoulder a little to see if it feels tired. It may be clearer the day after a long reading session, as your shoulder muscle might feel a little achy.
All of these signs will help you tell whether or not it’s worth your time and money going to an optician to have your eyes tested – but none of them serve as an official diagnosis and they can’t tell you what prescription you need. Presbyopia is pretty much a certainty for anyone who lives past 40, so try not to get too down about it. You also don’t need to spend a huge amount on reading glasses, as specialist online stores can offer significantly lower prices than high-street stores. Foster Grant, for example, has a large range of specialist reading glasses, all at very low prices.
I hope this guide has been useful and that a few people who were experiencing some of the tell-tale signs of presbyopia are on their way to better vision and fewer headaches, sleepy spells, halos, and achy shoulders. Getting the right glasses for you can make a big difference to your day-to-day life.