If you have ever learned about glaucoma, you may know that the peripheral is the first thing affected by the disease. What is less commonly discussed and recognized is how it affects our ability to read and the resulting need for reading glasses.
While glaucoma primarily affects the peripheral vision, it also impacts central vision, which is the part of your vision you use for reading. In moderate to severe cases of the disease, people report seeing through a fog, not just in the periphery, but the central vision as well. This fogging impacts people with the condition by impacting their ability to recognize words and letters at a glance. This slows the person’s reading ability, especially with longer words, because it takes them more time to focus and they must look at the text longer to decipher a passage, sentence, or paragraph.
The mid-peripheral area’s vision also affects a person’s ability to read print. A person with perfect peripheral vision can keep their eye on the center of the page and use their peripheral vision to read quickly. A glaucoma patient will have particular difficulty with this as they have to move their head significantly more than someone with healthy eyes.
We also use our peripheral vision to move from the end of one line of text to the beginning of the next. A glaucoma sufferer will also struggle with this, frequently losing their place on a page. Loss of visual acuity can reduce the speed of reading by 15 words a minute. This is an extremely frustrating phenomenon and turns a lot of people with the condition off to reading.
What can you do to help?
One of the easiest ways to treat this ailment is to use reading glasses whenever you read. Anti-glare-coated reading glasses are even better because they can reduce the light halos often associated with glaucoma. Always make sure you are reading under plenty of light, as glaucoma causes a lack of sensitivity to letter contrast.
Prolonged reading especially tires the eyes, so be sure to look up once in a while and rest your eyes for a moment. Remember the 20/20/20 rule. When you are reading, be sure to look at a distant object (at least 20 feet away) for at least 20 seconds, once every 20 minutes. When reading on a device, make sure to equip yourself with blue light blocking reading glasses or reverse the polarity of the device so you are reading white text on a black background. If possible, increase the font size on devices or even turn the device from portrait to landscape.
Glaucoma has a major impact on the loss of visual acuity in the older population and can significantly affect reading performance. Even in cases where the focus is not as severely affected, the stress of the bilateral visual field problems can cause people to read less. As we know, reading is incredibly beneficial. It reduces stress, prevents cognitive decline, enhances sleep quality, and might even maximize your IQ. So if you or someone you know is struggling with reading due to vision problems, our designer reading glasses could be a perfect gift.
Jerry Willis is the owner of Lumen Eyewear and the computer glasses and reading glasses brand Visualites. Jerry has years of experience in eyewear frame and lens design and manufacturing of eyewear and is a member of the Vision Council of the United States of America. Lumen Eyewear is also a FDA licensed manufacturer and importer of reading glasses and computer glasses. Visualites is dedicated to bringing its customers products that not only improve their vision but the health of their eyes.