Perhaps you’ve always enjoyed 20/20 vision and lately you’re experiencing blurry vision. If you are 40 and older, you may have presbyopia, a normal age-related loss of near focusing ability. Most people notice the side effects of presbyopia after age 40, when they have difficulty seeing small print clearly, such as text messages, books, or digital type. A common sign of presbyopia is the need to hold books at least 14 inches from one’s face. This type of vision impairment can even affect individuals who are nearsighted. When regular glasses are worn to correct distance vision, a person’s near vision appears blurry. Difficulty reading small print up close is just one potential sign of a vision problem. Here are 10 other signs you may need corrective eyewear.
1. Frequent squinting
Squinting reduces extra light entering the eye, thereby decreasing the size of the blurred image. It can be a temporary fix to compensate for out-of-focus objects, but can also be a sign of poor vision. Squinting excessively could be a sign of hyperopia (farsightedness) or myopia (nearsightedness). If you notice this behavior in your children or grandchildren, this may indicate the presence of amblyopia (lazy eye).
2. Eye fatigue or strain
Inadequate sleep, flu, cold, or allergies can cause this temporarily, however, if it is persistent, see an eye doctor. If your eyes are fatigued from regular activities like watching TV or reading, it could signal the presence of vision changes, an eye infection, or undiagnosed health condition (e.g. diabetes).
Farsightedness or astigmatism, both of which can cause near and distant objects to appear blurry, can cause eye fatigue and strain. When you frequently strain your eyes to see better, this can lead to headaches. If your eyeglass prescription is too strong, this can also cause eye strain and headaches.
4. Blurry vision
The most common causes are farsightedness or nearsightedness. Minor, transient blurring could be the result of being tired, dryness, or eye strain. If you experience sudden and persistent blurred vision, schedule an urgent appointment with an eye doctor or visit an emergency room/urgent care center. If one eye becomes blurry or goes dark suddenly, this is an emergency and may indicate a retinal detachment or even a stroke.
5. Needing brighter light
Turning lights on to see more clearly is a telltale sign of presbyopia. If you find yourself frequently turning on more lamps in a room than usual, it may be time for reading glasses.
6. Difficulty with night vision
If you are experiencing an inability to see clearly in dimly lit conditions, this means your eyes’ ability to adjust to darkness has diminished. This can be a sign of cataract, retinitis pigmentosa (if you’re 30 or younger), diabetes, zinc or vitamin A deficiencies, or a side effect of LASIK surgery. Additionally, sustained bright sunlight can worsen night vision for up to 2 days.
7. Seeing halos around lights
When your eyes aren’t focusing properly, light can become scattered or blurry. This results in seeing halos around light bulbs, car headlights, and various other lights. While this problem can sometimes be corrected with glasses, halos are a common symptom of cataracts. Halos may also be associated with uncorrected presbyopia, nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, or a side effect of LASIK surgery.
8. Sitting close to the TV
This is a sign you’re compensating for not being able to clearly see television images from farther away. Although it’s a myth sitting too close to a TV damages one’s eyes, it could be a sign of undiagnosed nearsightedness.
9. Frequent eye rubbing
This could be a sign of eye fatigue or eye strain and glasses typically help. Eye rubbing may also be caused by allergic conjunctivitis (pink eye), seasonal allergies, or dry eye.
10. Loosing your place or finger pointing while reading
This can be a sign of strabismus, a condition causing misalignment of eyes, some other eye muscle issue, or astigmatism. In children who are learning to read, pointing at words with their fingers improves their skills, however, it could mean they have amblyopia.
If you experience any of the above and need glasses, you’re in good company! An estimated 188.7 million people in the U.S. wear glasses or contact lenses and 30.9 million wear over-the-counter readers, typically for presbyopia. If you are unhappy you need glasses for the first time in your life, consider this intriguing fact. As many as 19 million Americans wear eyeglasses without a prescription simply because they think they look cool!