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We’ve all experienced the “my arms are not long enough to read this” scenario whether it be yourself or a parent. How is it that one has had perfect vision their whole life and BAM, near 40 years of age, reading is not as easy as it used to be? Well the good news is that this means you’re human and it is a natural part of life. 

Let’s begin with a short explanation about how the eye focuses up close. There is a lens inside our eye that sits right behind the pupil. This lens has small attachments holding it up, known as Zonules. As we begin to read at near, these attachments change the shape of the lens (depending on the distance) to help focus the reading material.

Over time, this lens gets stiffer and stiffer (naturally due to UV light, growth, etc.) and as one can imagine, it becomes more difficult for the Zonules to bend the lens when focusing up close. That’s why the ability to see at near declines gradually from the ages of 40-60 and this is known as Presbyopia. In warmer climates (more UV exposure), this process may begin earlier depending on whether people are using sunglasses – hence why UV protection is so important, even on a cloudy day, UV rays can penetrate through! Furthermore, not only can it become harder to see, sometimes early presbyopia masks itself through symptoms of eyestrain and headaches as your muscles are forced to work harder than they should. 

Now that we know what presbyopia is, what can we do about it? Since the lens inside our eye has trouble focusing, we can use a lens outside of the eye – glasses or contacts! With glasses, there are many options available including:  

  • Reading glasses
  • Bifocals (distance and reading)
  • Progressives (no line trifocals – distance, intermediate, reading)
  • Computer glasses + more

With contacts, there are numerous possibilities including multifocal contacts! 

So, if you’re starting to wish for longer arms, contact your eye care practitioner for lens options (glasses and/or contacts) that are best suited for you!


Written by Dr. Manvit Singh

Dr. Manvit K. Singh graduated from the University of Waterloo School of Optometry in 2016 with honours through all 4 years. Having grown up in Waterloo, Dr. Singh started off as a patient of Pierce Family Vision at the age of 7, then worked with us as an optometry student and is now providing our patients of all ages with quality eye care. It’s safe to say she’s very familiar with our practice!

Dr. Singh’s past experiences include a rotation at the Lexington, Kentucky, Veterans Affairs Medical Center where she encountered and managed a vast array of ocular diseases and therapeutics. She worked closely with other healthcare professionals to provide quality patient-centred care at the Health Sciences Optometry Clinic in Kitchener.

Dr. Singh resides in Waterloo and loves spending her free time with her husband and her baby daughter. When Dr. Singh is in the office you’ll hear her laughter around the office while she’s making sure your regular eye exams are as enjoyable as they can be!

Fluent in Hindi and Punjabi

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