Eyesight question - accommodation

I’m 51 and a few years ago I noticed that if I was reading and looked up quickly at the television, I’d have trouble focussing on the screen. Went to the optometrist who prescribed reading glasses, even though I’d had no problems at all with reading the printed word.

Got the glasses and they drove me nuts. I just couldn’t get used to wearing them. Because I still was having no trouble at all reading books, newspapers etc, I stopped wearing them at all.

Just lately I’ve noticed if I read for a long time (lazy Sunday behaviour), it can take ages - up to half an hour - to be able to focus properly on objects in the distance. Obviously, I can’t get into the car and drive if I’ve been reading like that for a few hours but I’m wondering if there’s something with my *distance * vision which needs correction? I don’t have any problem focussing on objects in the distance ordinarily, only if I’ve been reading for a long time.

I mentioned this to the optometrist the last time I had my eyes checked. He just said I needed a stronger prescription in my reading glasses, which made no sense at all to me.

Naturally, I’m not looking for a diagnosis or anything - just an explanation which makes sense.

Have you had a comprehensive eye exam by an Opthamologist, (M.D.)
Optometrists deal with the optical aspects of the eye .
An Opthamologist deals with the whole nine yards and could answer any and all questions.
BTW He will also check for any potential problems with glaucoma which is a matter of being tested to avoid future loss of vision…

Oh, hell. An optometrist is fully qualified to deal with presbyopia, which is what you appear to have.

As you age, the eyes’ lenses grow thicker and stiffer and more difficult to deform, making focusing harder. In addition, the muscles in the eye get, well, like the rest of your skeletal muscles – stiff. It takes longer for your eyes to adjust. In addition, extended periods of reading can lead to accomodative spasm, in which the muscles stay in the “near-distance position” after you’ve stopped reading. Accomodative spasm is often mistaken for common myopia in people who think they’ve cured nearsightedness.

At your age, a lot of people can’t read without glasses at all; the fact that you can indicates that you may have a touch of myopia that you’ve managed to get around until now. Or maybe you’re just lucky and have limber eyes. :slight_smile:

I would see an opthalmologist, or at least another optometrist. The one you saw wanted to prescribe a stronger prescription. Hell, you had that problem before you used any reading glasses. Your reading glass prescription may be too strong now. What is it? At age 51, it shouldn’t be more than +1 diopter.

I never had any time element in adapting from seeing close up to distance. Sure, as you get older, your lenses and their ligamentous attachments, become less flexible, and cannot adjust enough to read things close up, but I don’t think there should be such a time factor in adjusting to different distances. I’ve never had that problem and I’m now 67. At any rate, it does not seem that a stronger prescription is going to help you, and it probably will have the opposite effect.

I’ve had my eyes tested for glaucoma but I’m thinking I’ll get a referral to an opthalmologist next time.

That makes sense. Thanks. I wish the optometrist had explained it half as well. It surprises me that I don’t need to wear reading glasses. Everyone else of my age seems to.

As I mentioned above, I’m going to see an opthalmologist next time. The long time to focus on distant objects seemed really weird to me and no one I know has had the problem.

My current glasses - the ones I don’t wear - are +1. The more recent prescription - which I didn’t even get filled - is for +1.5 I really couldn’t see the point, since I was reading just fine without the weaker ones.

My wife is (nearly) an optometrist and she is also getting a Ph.D. in the mechanics of accomodation. I would say that a well-trained optometrist should be able to do as good or better a dilated fundoscopic exam than any ophthalmologist. She would argue that a well-trained optometrist would be able to treat glaucoma as well as an ophthalmologist as well and she knows more than me about this.

Everyone loses almost all accomodative response by the mid-40s. No exceptions. As Nametag mentioned some people can compensate because of inherent focal abnormalities in the eye, but the accomodation response is mostly lost. So chances are that you need reading glasses no matter what, even if you are not having problems with the printed word. Reading glasses will prevent you from having to force your eye into a near focal length and therefore you won’t have to wait when you need length vision.

She is out of town so I can’t ask her right now about this exact phenomenon. I’ll try to mention it to her tomorrow. Chances are that she will recommend another kind of glasses if you find readers intolerable: there are all kinds of other ways to do it.

People start losing their accomodation at a very early age. By the time you are not even 10, you have lost some; it is just that you can still accomodate enough not to notice. As you get older, unless you already have myopia, you start holding reading material further away. By the time you are 40 or so, you will need some correction to read without straining, and this correction continues to increase. At age 45, all you probably need is a +0.25, but by age 65 it may be +2.0 or so. You don’t need a prescription, either. One off the rack at the drugstore will suffice, so said my ophthalmologist when he recommended I start using them.

However, the OP said he has had a problem with re-focusing, and he has had this problem even before the reading glasses, not that he found reading glasses intolerable. He just doesn’t need them to read. Problem re-focusing is not normal, and an opthalmologist is more qualified to discover any pathology that may be present.