My Wife’s Experience with Presbyopia

My wife, like many of us, is a certain age north of 40 and recently realized that her near vision is becoming blurry, much to her dismay. Blurred near vision causes problems with reading, threading a needle, texting and other up-close tasks.

Of course I’ve known this day was coming. Presbyopia, the inability to focus up-close, is a common vision disorder that happens to just about 100% of people as we age. It’s a condition I diagnose daily and one that I hear unending complaints about. It even happened to me a few years ago. No one is immune.

When I explained to my wife that presbyopia is simply the natural aging process of the eye, causing the lens of the eye to lose its flexibility and therefore its ability to focus up-close, she had a brainstorm.

“I do yoga to improve my flexibility, and now I can touch my toes easily,” she said. “So what exercises can I do to make the lens of my eye more flexible to counteract presbyopia?” As she asked her question, she opened her eyes widely and moved them up, down and all around in circles in an attempt to stretch them, emphasizing her point.

While she gets credit for trying, unfortunately this natural condition can’t be reversed. As we age, changes occur in the eye’s natural lens, making it thicker and less elastic. At the onset of presbyopia, people typically hold their phone or a magazine out at arm’s length to read it, quipping, “My vision is fine, it’s just that my arms are suddenly too short.”

According to the World Health Organization, more than a billion people worldwide are presbyopic, with at least 150 million of those in the United States — and that number continues to grow as our population ages.

Luckily, presbyopia is easily corrected with a visit to Ridgefield Vision Center. And unlike our grandparents who only had two choices: carrying a magnifying glass at all times or wearing bifocal lenses with an obvious line down the middle, we have some great modern options.

After our staff performs a comprehensive exam to check the health of your eyes, we’ll provide you with an updated prescription. If you already wear glasses, we’ll help you find a fashionable pair with progressive lenses to bring the up-close details back into focus. If you don’t currently wear glasses, we’ll introduce you to a wonderful new fashion accessory: your first pair of reading glasses.

If you prefer contact lenses over glasses, we have several options to offer. Some people find success with multifocal lenses, which enable the eye to focus at all distances. Others prefer monovision contact lenses, in which the dominant eye provides far vision and your other eye focuses up-close. The human brain adjusts to this correction quickly, and for most patients, it’s as if nothing even changed.

To wrap up this story, our knowledgeable staff at Ridgefield Vision Center helped my wife find her first pair of progressive lenses to wear as she enters the new world of presbyopia. And while she sometimes still talks about doing “Eye Yoga,” I’m just glad we helped her see up-close again. My wife gave her permission for me to write this column about her experience in the Presbyopia Club.

If you’re over 40 and notice that your arms are getting too short, call us today at 804-741-1204 to make an appointment. We’ll welcome you to the club. You’re in very good company!


For 19 years, our optometry team at Ridgefield Vision Center has provided conscientious, personable vision care for adults and children in Richmond’s far West End, near Godwin High School and Short Pump Mall. We make going to the eye doctor a positive experience. Whether you need eyeglasses, sunglasses or contact lenses, we offer the highest quality products to ensure the health of your eyes so that you enjoy good vision in every season of life. We’ll continue to provide you with valuable information about the human eye and to provide the highest level of professional eye care for our patients’ vision health. Call us at 804-741-1204 and schedule your next appointment today!

Photo Credits:

Presbyopia Image By BruceBlaus (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

At top of article: Triangle Pose photo by Kennguru – Own work, CC BY 3.0,