If you're hitting middle age and find that it's getting harder to read fine print, you're not alone. You most likely have the condition known as presbyopia, which commonly affects people over 40 and makes it harder to focus on close objects. Each year, more than 4 million people in the US develop this condition. Since there is no cure for presbyopia, you might be afraid that you'll soon be in bifocals, which you may associate with older generations. You have nothing to fear though, as there are several alternatives to wearing bifocals.

Invisible bifocals

These type of glasses work just like bifocals, with two different types of lenses fitted within a pair of eyeglasses. The main thing that sets them apart is that the two lenses for far and near vision are blended together into one lens. The traditional line that separates the lenses is polished away, becoming invisible.

Progressive addition lenses

These lenses help people see objects at all distances. As opposed to bifocals or invisible bifocals which have lenses to help with just near and far vision, these progressive addition lenses also have a lens that helps with intermediate vision (about 3 to 5 feet away from the eyes). Rather than a distinct line in which the lenses transition, the power and type of magnification gradually changes. This helps people more easily adjust to environments with objects at varying lengths from the eyes.

Monovision contact lenses

These contact lenses allow people to correct both near and far vision at the same time. These lenses correct one eye for near vision and the other eye for far vision, so that you'll always be relying on one eye or the other. After an initial adjustment period, your brain soon learns to use the correct eye for either near or far vision depending on your environment, and it will suppress the blurrier images that the other eye is transmitting.

Laser blended vision

Laser eye surgery works in a similar way to monovision contact lenses, in that it allows each eye to have different abilities. With laser blended vision, one eye is better at far to intermediate vision, while the other is better at intermediate to near vision. Because the two eyes share a strength in their intermediate vision, they can both be engaged in many environments and produce images with proper depth.

Regardless of the type of corrective action that you take, rest assured that you won't ever need to wear glasses that look like your grandfather's glasses. To make sure you won't have any trouble reading fine print anymore, make an appointment with your eye doctor, one like Dr. Joel B. Katcher, to discuss the type of lens or treatment that is best for your particular situation.