Experiencing some trouble with reading is a frequently occurring problem if you're close to middle age. Being able to see things that are up close is a visual function that weakens as you age. Why? With age, your eye's lens is likely to become less flexible, decreasing your ability to focus on handheld objects. We call this presbyopia. And it's universal.
Often, to prevent eyestrain, people with undiagnosed presbyopia may hold reading material at arm's length in order to focus properly. Additionally, engaging in other tasks at close range, for example, embroidery or handwriting, can also cause eyestrain and discomfort. If you are ready to do something about presbyopia, there are several alternatives, which take your eyewear preferences into account.
An oft-used aid is reading glasses, but these are generally most useful for contact lens wearers or for people who don't already wear glasses for problems with distance vision. You can purchase these glasses at lots of stores, but you shouldn't get a pair until you have seen the results of a proper visual exam. Too often simple reading glasses may be handy for short periods of time but they can cause fatigue when used for long stretches of time. Not surprisingly, custom-made reading glasses are a much better solution. These can address additional eye issues such as correct astigmatism, compensate for prescriptions that are different between the two eyes, and on top of that, the optic centers of the lenses can be specially made to meet the needs of the wearer. The reading distance is another detail that can be made to meet your exact needs.
If you already have glasses, consider bifocal or multi-focal corrective lenses, or PALs (progressive addition lenses), which a lot of people respond really well to. Essentially, these are glasses with multiple points of focus; the lower part helps you see things at close range. Contact lens wearers should speak to their eye care specialist to find out about multifocal contact lenses. There's also a treatment technique known as monovision, where you wear a contact lens to correct near sightedness in one eye and another to correct far sightedness in the other eye.
However, you may have to routinely check and possibly adjust the strength of your lenses, because eyes change with age. Presbyopia could be a problem for people even after refractive surgery, so it is important to understand all the options before making decisions about your vision care.
It's best to speak to your optometrist for a helpful view on the matter. Sight changes as you get older and we want to keep you informed so you manage your vision in the way that's most helpful and beneficial to you.