Staying fit and focused at forty
Latest studies show that eye disease and visual impairment increase three-fold with each decade of life after 40 years of age.
From the age of 40 onwards everyone will experience changes in their near vision.
This condition, known as presbyopia, makes vision difficult at a normal reading distance and is a natural part of the ageing process.
To focus on close objects, a muscle in the eye changes the shape of the lens. When we get older the lens loses its flexibility and is less able to change its shape, making it difficult to focus on close objects.
People with presbyopia may have difficulty concentrating when reading or may find that periods of close work result in sore eyes, headaches or tiredness.
Just like stiffening joints or greying hair, presbyopia cannot be prevented, but fortunately it can be easily corrected with spectacles or lenses.
As your ability to focus weakens, you will need to have regular eye examinations every two years and may need your prescription changed every few years.
Advances in optical technology have provided more options for patients, sometimes enabling us to help ageing patients focus almost as they did as a twenty year old.
For example, multifocal contact lenses, allowing patients to focus at all distances, are becoming popular with baby boomers who find this form of vision correction the best way to maintain their active lifestyle. Over the last year, multifocal contact lens fittings increased by 20 per cent in Australia.
Regular examinations are essential for people over the age of 40 to stay fit and focused and to make sure any eye conditions are detected early, such as glaucoma and macular degeneration.
How to stay fit and focused at forty
- Know your eyes; understand the warning signs of changes in your vision.
- Have your eyes examined regularly by your optometrist. Eye examinations attract a Medicare rebate and no referral is required.
- Discuss any visual tasks undertaken in your daily occupation with your optometrist, who may consider specially designed lenses for you.
- Eat for your eyes; include plenty of vitamin C, vitamin E, Zinc and Lutien (dark green leafy vegetables).