The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

I Can’t Believe My Eyes

It’s official. I’m getting older. It started, actually, a year ago. I went to my annual eye exam, and the doctor told me that I was just starting to show a touch of presbyopia.

Presbyopia usually occurs beginning at around age 40, when people experience blurred near vision when reading, sewing or working at the computer.

You can’t escape presbyopia, even if you’ve never had a vision problem before. Even people who are nearsighted will notice that their near vision blurs when they wear their usual eyeglasses or contact lenses to correct distance vision.

Presbyopia is widespread in the United States. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, over 135 million Americans were age 40 and older in 2008, and the country is growing older: The median age reached 36.8 in 2008, up 1.5 years since 2000. This growing number of older citizens generates a huge demand for eyewear, contact lenses and surgery that can help presbyopes deal with their failing near vision.

Apparently, the knees are not the first to go. Not always.

I mostly brushed it off, but he suggested I buy a pair of reading glasses plus the best computer glasses I can find. I bought the reading glasses, but they spent most of the past year sitting in a desk drawer. Then a couple of months ago, I started having to hold some things farther away in order to read them, especially small print. I first noticed it while trying to read some small print on my iPhone.

So, I’ve had to one again stop ignoring the march of time across my eyeballs, and the reading glasses have come out of the drawer. But the last thing I need is another pair of glasses to keep up with. So, I have an appointment for an eye exam today.

I’m hoping I can get some multifocal lenses.

Bifocal contact lenses are designed to provide good vision to people who have a condition called presbyopia.

The main sign that you’re developing presbyopia is that you need to hold menus, newspapers and other reading material farther from your eyes in order to see it clearly.

Bifocal contact lenses come in both soft materials and rigid gas permeable (GP) materials. Some can be worn on a disposable basis. That means you have the convenience of throwing the lenses out at specified intervals (even daily, in some cases) and replacing them with fresh, new lenses.

One lens manufacturer offers a soft multifocal contact lens made of silicone hydrogel material. This lens is FDA-approved for up to 30 days of continuous wear.

Bifocal contacts lenses have two prescriptions in the same lens. Multifocal contact lenses have a range of powers (similar to progressive spectacle lenses) in each lens. "Multifocal" is also used as a catch-all term for all contact lenses with more than one power, including bifocals.

And maybe even some new glasses. Given the amount of reading I do, plus the amount of time I spend reading/writing/editing text on various screens, it’s pretty much a necessity.

Ah, aging. Oh well, it beats the alternative. (There’s only one way I know of to avoid aging, after all.)

Next to go? Probably the knees…

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