Ask an Eye M.D. Answer Archive

Please read our important medical disclaimer.

Question:
I am nearsighted and even though I'm in my mid-40's I can still read tiny print up close without a problem. My distance vision is terrible, though. At my last eye exam my eye doctor told me if I wanted stronger prescription contacts for distance vision, I would have to give up some of my close-up vision. Is this true?

Answer:
Yes. Usually in our 40's, we lose the focusing ability required to see normally at both near and distance with the same correction. Thus people with perfect near vision begin wearing "readers" for near work. Most people who require glasses for distance begin wearing bifocals or "transition" lenses that correct for both distance and near vision with different powers in different portions of the lens.

It appears that you are sufficiently nearsighted that you will always be able to read with no glasses. But to wear an optimal distance prescription, you will need to begin wearing bifocals or else flip your glasses up (or take them off) to read. If you could tolerate contact lenses, you might ask your ophthalmologist about "monovision," in which your non-dominant eye wears a lens for near work.

Answered by: Charles P. Wilkinson, MD  Dr. Charles P. Wilkinson

Categories: Vision Correction

Have a question that hasn't been answered yet? Ask it!

Answered: Mar 11, 2014

Pop needs to be configured.