Mentioning the word ‘ageing’, ‘eyesight’ and ‘app’ in the same sentence may be enough for many to zone out. But stay with us, because if you are hitting middle age, or have started to notice you’re finding it increasingly difficult to read phone messages or read labels at the supermarket, this app could save you a lot of eye-straining energy.
The Ageing Eyes (Presbyopia) Xplained app, produced by doctors at Medicine X, is a genuinely entertaining and informative app which has been created by deeply listening to people in their 40s and 50s talk about the common eye condition Presbyopia. The app has been produced in collaboration with Optometry Australia, the peak professional body for optometrists.
Most people know their eyes get older as they age, but don’t really know why or what they can do about it. To help explain this to people (and why they shouldn’t wear glasses from the $2 store), optometrists are recommending this app to their patients.
Having symptoms of presbyopia, a gradual reduction in eye lens flexibility - which often makes people hold things further away to see them clearly - can be the first admission that you’re getting older.
There is a lot of humour and honesty that comes from this fact.
The app is based on the experiences of a real-life woman, Penny, who pulls no punches when it comes to her failing eyesight and her feelings about getting older.
The Ageing Eyes app is like having a big sister holding your hand through the whole presbyopia journey -- from symptoms, diagnosis and management.
Penny’s story is by no means seen through rose-coloured glasses, which makes the app all the better.
Originally misdiagnosed, and then given contact lenses that didn’t suit her, Penny’s real-life story ensures that users ask all the right questions.
“It’s about finding a great optometrist to start with and then asking the right questions. It’s important you try different lenses and find the right one,” she said.
See your optometrist
It’s important to have an eye examination with your optometrist who will be able to test how well you see up close by placing different lenses in front of your eyes, so he or she can then tell if you have presbyopia and prescribe the lenses that give you the clearest and most comfortable vision.
You are likely to need to wear glasses when you are reading books, using computers and performing other tasks that require you to focus up close. Often prescription glasses for reading are prescribed first. These give excellent vision for reading but are blurry if you look through them into the distance and you have to take them off to walk around.
Find an optometrist in your local area here.
You may be getting older, but it’s not all bad news
Remember, Presbyopia is a normal part of ageing and unlike other age-related eye diseases like glaucoma and macular degeneration, vision doesn’t keep on declining. It usually plateaus around age 60.
As Penny said, “My eyes have deteriorated but they will plateau, so I am not going to lose my sight.”