Why am I losing my eyesight?

Apr 28, 2018

Are you experiencing vision loss as you get older? If so, is it normal?

It might seem like a scary question to ask yourself, but in most cases, “Why am I losing my eyesight?”, should be addressed with calm patience as it is perfectly normal to experience age-related vision loss.


After all, our eyes — like the other muscles in our body — lose strength as we get older. We can’t lift as much as we used to or exercise as long as we used to. Our eyes follow the same natural pattern.

When does normal vision decline begin?

According to Visionplan, most people begin to experience difficulty with reading and close focus tasks in their 40s. Your vision over 40 usually means more squinting as reading the fine print can become a little bit more of a struggle. Other symptoms may include:

  • Having to hold reading material farther away
  • Headaches
  • and eyestrain

This natural change in close focus vision is called presbyopia and it generally affects everyone as they age.

Unlike astigmatism, nearsightedness or farsightedness, presbyopia is not related to the shape and length of the eyeball itself. Rather, presbyopia has everything to do with our lens. The lens in our eyes begins to harden with age, meaning a decrease in lens elasticity.  This is what causes the change in vision clarity.

What can I do to stop my vision from changing?

This is also a common question. Unfortunately, there’s nothing science has discovered that will halt this process in its tracks.

Yet, to regain your visual focus, there a few options:

  • Reading glasses
  • Surgery
  • Multifocal contact lenses (more information about this option in our third article)
  • and multifocal eye glasses

As you continue to age, presbyopia naturally becomes more advanced. You may notice the need for more frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescriptions. This can also be traced to other age-related circumstances, such as:

  • Vitreous detachment (more about this condition in our second article)
  • Dry eyes and
  • Need for better light to see well

Again, this is perfectly normal. It is regular wear and tear.

However, it always pays to make sure you are not suffering from another condition that’s more urgent. Your decline in vision loss may also be attributed to a major age-related eye disease such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts or diabetic retinopathy.

Left untreated, these diseases can cause permanent damage such as blindness.

The best way to be sure you’re only dealing with presbyopia is to have regular eye examinations. Doctor Google cannot give you a proper diagnosis.

Want to book an eye exam and discuss possible solutions for your presbyopia? Please feel to email Jenny at jenny@gp-optom.co.nz to set an appointment.

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