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Can you postpone needing reading glasses?

Updated: 6 days ago

I’m 48 years old and still able to read up close without the need for reading glasses. My journey to maintaining my near vision started many years ago with eye exercises. During my ophthalmology attachment in medical school, I had the opportunity to work with a specialist in vision correction. At the time, I wore glasses, but the ophthalmologist analyzed my glasses and noted that they were of very low strength. He explained that, each year, I would likely need stronger glasses as my eyesight weakened due to reliance on correction.

Although he didn’t tell me explicitly what to do, his insight was enough to inspire a change in my approach to vision care. From that day on, I stopped wearing glasses and started practicing eye yoga.

Here’s a short guide to understanding and managing presbyopia, including some of the exercises I found helpful.

Understanding Presbyopia

Presbyopia is an age-related condition that affects the eye’s ability to focus on close objects. Typically, it becomes noticeable in individuals around the age of 40 and progresses over time. By age 48, many people find themselves needing reading glasses or other visual aids to see up close clearly. This condition is caused by the hardening of the lens inside the eye, which reduces its flexibility and ability to change shape to focus on near objects. Symptoms include difficulty reading small print, needing to hold reading materials farther away, and experiencing eye strain or headaches after close work.

Managing Presbyopia (long sightedness)

1. Reading Glasses:

Over-the-counter reading glasses are a simple and effective solution for many people. They come in various strengths, so it’s essential to choose the pair that provides clear vision at your preferred reading distance, typically between 35 to 40 centimeters (about 14 to 16 inches) for a 48-year-old.

2. Prescription Eyewear:

For those needing more than just reading correction, prescription bifocals, trifocals, or progressive lenses can address multiple vision needs. These lenses allow for clear vision at different distances without switching glasses.

3. Contact Lenses:

Multifocal contact lenses or monovision contacts (one eye corrected for distance and the other for near vision) can be effective. An eye care professional can help determine the best type for your lifestyle and vision needs.

4. Surgical Options:

Surgery can be a viable option for some. Procedures like LASIK, conductive keratoplasty, or lens implants can reduce the need for glasses or contacts. Each has its benefits and risks, so a thorough discussion with an ophthalmologist is crucial.

5. Lifestyle Adjustments:

Good lighting, taking regular breaks during tasks that require close focus, and using magnifying lenses can help manage presbyopia. Ensuring that your workspace is ergonomically friendly can also reduce eye strain.

Eye Exercises

While eye exercises can’t reverse presbyopia, they can help reduce eye strain and improve focus flexibility. Here are some effective exercises:

Focus Change Exercise:

Hold your thumb about 10 inches from your face and focus on it.

Shift your focus to something 10 to 20 feet away.

Repeat this back and forth several times.

Near and Far Focus:

Hold a pen at arm’s length, focus on it, and slowly bring it towards your nose.

Stop when it becomes blurry, then slowly move it back out.

Repeat several times.

Eye Movements:

Move your eyes up and down, then side to side, without moving your head.

Do this for a few minutes.

Figure Eight:

Imagine a large figure eight on the wall in front of you.

Trace it with your eyes slowly, then reverse direction.

20-20-20 Rule:

Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and focus on something 20 feet away.


Presbyopia is a natural part of aging, but it doesn’t have to interfere with your daily life. By using the right corrective measures and maintaining good eye health practices, you can manage presbyopia effectively. Regular eye check-ups are essential to keep your vision in check and to adjust your prescriptions as needed. Consult with an eye care professional to find the best solutions tailored to your needs.

Dr Purity Carr

GP & Menopause Doctor

Harvey, WA

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