New help for that bane of middle-age: blurry close-up vision

An eye implant that takes about 10 minutes to put in place is the newest in a list of surgical repairs for the blurry close-up vision that is a bane of middle age.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Squinting while texting? Always losing your reading glasses? An eye implant that takes about 10 minutes to put in place is the newest in a list of surgical repairs for the blurry close-up vision that is a bane of middle age. But who’s really a good candidate to toss their specs?

“It’s not bringing anybody back to being 20 again,” cautioned Dr. Shilpa Rose, a Washington ophthalmologist who tests whether patients’ eyes are healthy enough to qualify. “But it decreases the need to rush to get that pair of reading glasses every time you want to send a text or read an email.”

Nearly everybody will experience presbyopia at some point, usually starting in the mid-40s. At first you may notice yourself holding restaurant menus at arm’s length. Eventually, even in good light, reading becomes a blur.

How well you see has to do with how light is directed through the natural lens to the back of the eye. That lens stiffens with age, losing its ability to shift and bend light so that it becomes more difficult to focus close-up.

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The usual options are magnifying reading glasses from the drugstore or, for people with other vision problems, bifocals, multifocal contact lenses or what’s called monovision, correcting for distance vision in one eye and near vision in the other.

“I have glasses everywhere — the bedroom, the office, the kitchen,” said Christianne Krupinsky, 51, of Marriottsville, Maryland, who’d never needed them until presbyopia struck. “Getting ready in the morning, even to put on jewelry I can’t see the clasp. It’s so frustrating.”

And while surgery always carries some risk, corneal inlays that are implanted into the eye’s clear front surface are…

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