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Why vision deteriorates after 40 and how to preserve it
Why vision deteriorates after 40 and how to preserve it

As we age, we begin to see worse up close. We figure out why this happens and whether changes in vision can be avoided.

Why vision deteriorates after 40 and how to preserve it
Why vision deteriorates after 40 and how to preserve it

How does vision change after 40 years?

Age-related changes in the eyes take many by surprise. A person still sees perfectly into the distance, feels young and active, but his eyes begin to fail when looking at close objects. Letters and numbers merge, the image "floats" and bends. You have to strain your eyes, move the book away to read a small text. At first it happens occasionally: after hard work, in the evening of a hard day. Gradually, such phenomena become more frequent, intensified, and even a vacation does not help. Vision at close range is impaired.

How did we get along without positive points before?

Manages the process of clear vision accommodation accommodation. Guide for physicians eye apparatus. It includes a special muscle (ciliary), ligaments and the lens. When the ciliary muscle of the eye is tense, the lens sags on the zinn ligaments and takes on a more rounded shape.


The lens is a living biconvex lens. Its optical power ranges from 19 to 35 diopters. When looking at close objects, the lens is rounded and plays the role of plus points.

Why do the eyes fail?

The reason is that the lens becomes denser by the age of 35–40 and gradually loses. E. N. Iomdina, S. M. Bauer, K. E. Kotlyar. Biomechanics of the eye: theoretical aspects and clinical applications. - M.: Real Time, 2015 the ability to focus on close objects. This happens in everyone: myopic, farsighted and those who have healthy eyes and have always seen perfectly.

Eye structure
Eye structure

The structure of the lens changes. It, like a bulb, is overgrown with new layers of lens fibers, and the nucleus becomes denser and hardened. The ciliary muscle has to exert more and more effort to change the curvature of the lens, which has become denser and less elastic.

Will gymnastics help your eyes?

Visual gymnastics in such a situation is useless and even harmful, since the muscles are already in hypertonicity. This leads to a change in their rigidity - a pathological condition associated with overstrain.

Rolling the eyes, blinking, and other exercises provide temporary relief, but the results will not be pleasing. The eyes begin to redden even more, they tingle, as if an onion was being cut next to them. The edges of the eyelids thicken and begin to itch; it seems that sand has been poured into the eyes. If you continue to persist and look at the bridge of your nose, in the jugular fossa or in the area of the third eye, strongly reducing the visual axes, you can achieve that the eyes begin to squint and double vision appears.

The eyes need rest. However, massage, reflexology or meditation on the flame of a candle helps only as long as you do not pick up a book with small text.

At some point, a person notices that there is not enough bright light, which narrows the pupil, increases the length of the focus and adds clarity to the image. And the length of the arms is also not enough to move the text farther.

And what, there is nothing you can do about it?

The ciliary muscle, the “servant of sharp focus,” as experts call it, does not relax even at night. But the lens, still transparent, but already hardening and inelastic, ceases to perform the work of a plus lens. To compensate for physiological changes and not "drive" the ciliary muscle, you will have to use glasses or contact lenses.

Is it gadgets to blame for the deterioration of vision?

Do not think that we have been spoiled by the era of smartphones and computers. This is how nature has programmed: the accommodative apparatus of the eye, which makes it possible to bring small text as close to the eyes as possible, is formed by the age of 14–15 and retains its maximum efficiency for up to 20 years. Then the accommodative function fades away smoothly.

Even 150 years ago, people simply did not live to see such an outcome - the average life expectancy in the middle of the 19th century was Mortality improvements and evolution of life expectancies about 40 years. The lens condensation process is slow, everyone develops in different ways, but at 52, problems with near vision impairment overtake everyone without exception. These are the world statistics of William Benjamin. Borish's Clinical refracfion, second edition. Copyright 2006, 1998 by Butterworth-Heinemann, an imprint of Elsevier Inc. …

But what about grandmothers with keen eyes at 90 years old?

For 20 years of practice, I have not seen a single such magical case. In practice, it turned out that the grandmother could insert the thread into the needle, since she has short-sighted eyes, focused at a close distance, and in the distance, the grandmother sees 30-50% of the test chart, but this is enough for her.

In order to distinguish faces and recognize people from afar, it is enough to have a visual acuity equal to 0.5 of the normal "unit".

Perhaps my grandmother never knew what it meant to see "good."

Also, a person can do without glasses, it is good to see both far and near, if one eye is farsighted and the other is nearsighted. But here other problems arise: a narrow field of view, a lack of stereo vision, and the head may ache.

How to keep your eyes healthy?

You cannot do without a visit to a doctor and the selection of glasses.

  • See your ophthalmologist regularly, at least once a year.
  • Check intraocular pressure.
  • Examine the retina.
  • Detect eye pathology early.
  • After checking with an ophthalmologist, pick up glasses.

Glasses after 40 years remove excessive load from the internal muscles of the eye and become a means of preventing such "senile" diseases as cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration.

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