Answers provided by Dr. Mitchell Gossman, M.D., ophthalmologist at Eye Associates of Central Minnesota, St. Cloud
Question: Why am I having more trouble reading?
There isn’t much that requires better vision than reading. This is because reading material can have small letters and finely detailed vision is required to make them out. This is even more so with portable electronic devices such as iPhone and Androids.
Here are some of the possible reasons your reading vision might be deteriorating:
• If you currently have good distance vision, but you are having trouble with reading material and it’s no better pulling it closer, and you’re in your 40s, this is likely “presbyopia”, that normal loss of near focus that occurs with aging.
• If you already have reading glasses or bifocals that have worked before, but lately you’ve again started having trouble reading, it could mean that you need a change in your glasses.
• If your vision is good for a time, but becomes intermittently blurry, and improves with blinking or taking a break, that is often caused by dry eyes.
• If you’re in your 60s or higher, and starting to notice that in addition to having trouble reading, your distance vision is worsening, this is likely due to something more involved than needing glasses, it could be cataract development, or other eye disease such as macular degeneration and glaucoma.
• There is a very long list of other more rare conditions, some of them serious, that can cause blurred vision, that are better detected early than waiting.
What should you do about this? Simple: Schedule an eye examination to determine the cause.
Too many people have put off an eye exam because of the following excuses, and have had treatable conditions get worse and become more difficult to treat:
• “It’s natural for vision to become worse with aging.”
This is true for some reasons, for example it’s natural to develop cataracts, but there’s nothing normal about suffering from blurred vision because in most cases there is help available.
• “I got a pair of reading glasses, and I’m seeing well again, so I don’t need to be seen.”
This is false. It may well be that all you need are reading glasses, and your eyes are indeed healthy, but you can’t assume that to be the case. Patients will almost always see their doctor for serious symptoms such as blood in the urine. The eye’s most common symptom, blurry vision, may seem less ominous, but it‘s a very important symptoms that must not be ignored. Your eye is telling you something’s wrong.
• “It’s probably just my cataracts getting worse, and I don’t want surgery yet, so I don’t have to be seen.”
There are many other causes for blurrier vision in the patient with cataracts, so you can’t assume it’s worsening cataract. It might be, but there have been countless cases of such assumptions leading to later discovery of something else that is more serious.
• “I only get one free eye exam from my insurance per year, I’ll wait.”
This is not recommended because, obviously, the cost of an eye exam is nothing compared to the suffering that occurs with loss of vision.
Find Out More
Dr. Mitchell Gossman is a comprehensive ophthalmologist at Eye Associates of Central Minnesota. The office is located at 628 Roosevelt Road, Suite 101, in St. Cloud. To make an appointment or to learn more, call 320-774-3789 or email email@example.com.