As I get older, I have a hard time reading fine print — and sometimes I need to hold material at arm's length in order to see it clearly. What causes this?

Answer From Alaina L. Softing Hataye, O.D.

The focusing problem you describe may be an early symptom of presbyopia, an age-related change in vision. Presbyopia can occur in addition to having farsightedness, nearsightedness or astigmatism.

In presbyopia, your eyes gradually lose the ability to adjust to see up-close objects clearly. You may also experience blurred distance vision when changing your focus from near to far objects.

If you're experiencing this problem after prolonged close-up work, such as reading or working at a computer, try resting your eyes every 10 to 20 minutes by closing them for several seconds. This may help minimize the symptoms. If you don't normally wear prescription glasses, you may consider getting a pair of nonprescription reading glasses that can be used for close-up work.

If you're concerned about these vision changes, make an appointment with your eye doctor. An eye exam can identify potential eye or vision problems that may require further evaluation and treatment.


Alaina L. Softing Hataye, O.D.

Dec. 31, 2019 See more Expert Answers