eading glasses can be an annoying reminder that our bodies are getting older. When presbyopia kicks in, the eye’s lens loses its ability to focus close up, affecting both women and men’s autonomy and self-confidence.

At some point in our forties, our close up vision can get strained, causing us to wear reading glasses or bifocals at work, home and social settings. This crippling sign of aging affects over 1.7 billion people in the world, a number expected to increase to 2.1 billion in the next five years according to the Mayo Clinic.

Your vision at arm’s length

Dr. Michael Kaplan, an eye doctor who has been following many patients who suffer from presbyopia in the Toronto area says, “Most people notice this problem when looking at a menu in a restaurant, or when they start having difficulty seeing their watch or their phone. Reading certainly becomes more difficult.”

“I don’t like reading glasses! With them, I have a tendency to feel that I’m getting old. Growing up, the lenses were thicker and having thick glasses was not cool. I prefer to wear my contacts,” explains Julia Mastorakos, a 53-year-old woman who suffers from presbyopia. Since she enjoys an active lifestyle, including trips, family, regular visits to the gym and part-time work, reading glasses or bifocals are simply too much of an inconvenience.

Presbyopia affects men, as well. Brian Ludmer has been doing regular check-ups with his eye doctor for the past few years. The 56-year-old lawyer spent some time without near correction until it became obvious he had to do something about it.

“One time, I was trying to catch up on some emails while waiting in line at a grocery store. I was holding my phone so far away that someone thought I was taking a picture of them,” he recalls.

A new contact lens to regain your focus

In the past few weeks, Julia and Brian got the opportunity to try a new line of water gradient multifocal contact lenses. These daily lenses allow them to easily focus at close, intermediate and far distances while not having to change lenses or wear a pair of readers on top of the contact lenses.
Julia says: “It doesn’t take long at all for the transition to happen for me. I just open the book and then start reading.”

When outside, both patients can now wear off-the-shelf sunglasses instead of clip-ons or prescription sunglasses and not worry about having to wear multiple pairs of glasses. At the grocery store, they can read the ingredients on a product’s packaging and pay at the cash without losing focus.

The new generation of contact lenses uses center-near design, with the near power in the center and gradual power change from near to intermediate to distance, so that you can see clearly wherever you choose to focus.

Dr. Kaplan remarks that, “Contrary to multifocal glasses, there is no up or down section. You can see clearly wherever you are looking. This happens seamlessly - your brain does it all for you.”

Increased comfort and breathability

Julia is thrilled by how comfortable she feels thanks to her new lenses. When attending social events, she no longer feels like she is carrying a crutch.

She says: “The difference is like day and night! The comfort level is so high that it feels like nothing is in my eyes. For the first time, I was able to leave my contact lenses in until around midnight with no issues. Before, I would absolutely have to use rewetting drops or to remove my contact lenses.”

Brian is glad to live in a time where he can comfortably live with presbyopia.

He adds, “I have the best breathability possible, so I can really feel it. The end of my days are just so much better now.”

Whether it is for presbyopia only or for a combination of other refractive errors, eye doctors are increasingly recommending daily water gradient multifocal contacts as the best solution to improve their patients’ lifestyle and self-esteem. Dr. Kaplan recommends having a full examination with an optometrist to see how they can help you get rid of your readers.

Julia has just ordered a new pack of contact lenses. She concludes, “I am leaving for Barbados this weekend and I will certainly bring these new lenses along.”