Cover Story


Your five senses are the network that connects you with the world, and the conduit through which you receive many of its pleasures and benefits. All the senses tend to dull somewhat with age - few people, for example, get through life without needing glasses. But there are many ways to treating or correcting sensory problems, and there are lots of steps you can take to ensure that you never lose the enjoyment of a spectacular landscape, great music or fine food.

YOUR EYESIGHT Seeing into the future

Eye problems tend to become more common with age, but recognizing them is half the battle, because there are so many ways to compensate for visual changes.

You almost certainly find it harder to focus close up than you did when you were young. This natural change to the eyesight presbyopia - starts during the 40s. It occurs because the lens of your eye becomes less flexible, so it can’t change shape as easily to focus on nearby objects and create a sharp image on the retina, the light-sensitive layer at the back of your eye. Near objects become blurred, making it more difficult to read fine print - this is why you often see people of a certain age holding a newspaper or menu at arm’s length. The good news is that by the time you’re in your mid-60’s your focus has usually stabilised and the problem doesn’t get much worse.

Simple solutions

If you had normal vision before, presbyopia is easily corrected by reading glasses, which magnify text or other near objects. You can buy them over the counter, or your optician can prescribe them for you. If you were already short or long-sighted, you may need to change your prescription, have an additional pair of glasses for reading, or consider bifocals or varifocals, which incorporate corrections for near and far vision into the same lens.

You can’t damage your eyes by not wearing your glasses, or by wearing the wrong corrective lenses, but you do make yourself more vulnerable to headaches, and you’ll be less efficient at whatever you’re doing.