Ask an Eye M.D. Answer Archive

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Question:
I am a 45-year-old female. I have always had 20/20 vision. Over the past few months, I have had to rely on reading glasses on and off. I contributed this to age factor. About three to four weeks ago, I noticed the need for reading glasses has become constant. I cannot even see the letters on my cell phone screen or computer, books, etc., without using them. Then over the past few days I have been having headaches over the left eye, with stabbing pain in the eye and exacerbation of headache with sudden eye movement, and tenderness of the eyelid when touched. I am becoming alarmed that this might be something more than just age-related vision changes. I have suffered of migraines since 16 years old, but they have subsided greatly over the past year or so. I no longer take daily migraine meds. Do I need to see an ophthalmologist or optometrist?

Answer:
The American Academy of Ophthalmology now recommends a complete dilated exam by the time you are 40 (if you are not already getting regular eye exams). If you have not had a complete eye exam in the last few years, consider getting one. Your initial complaints of decreased near vision and the need to use reading glasses are consistent with your age. This problems is called "presbyopia." It is possible to suffer from presbyopia-related headaches that should resolve with appropriate reading correction. The pain you describe with eye movements and the tenderness of the lid are not problems I would associate with presbyopia. You should see your Eye M.D. to determine the cause of your discomfort.

Answered by: Aaron Weingeist, MD Dr. Aaron Weingeist

Categories: Eye Conditions, General Eye Health

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Answered: Nov 23, 2010

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