When is the last time you got lost in a good book? According to the Pew Research Center, the percentage of American bookworms is declining, but we are seeing the sharpest decline in the younger individuals. The older generation still considers reading for pleasure a favorite hobby, even when faced with failing vision (Source: The Atlantic).
Increased age is one of the common risk factors for eye conditions like cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration, but this does not mean you can’t curl up with a classic, New York Times Best-Seller or a collection of fast-paced short stories. You have several choices nowadays that can make reading a little bit easier on the eyes.
Large Print Books
Cataracts and other eye conditions can cause blurred vision or double vision, even at near distances. Increasing font size can be incredibly helpful as you delve into your favorite novel. Many titles at your local library are available in large print, or you can purchase them at a bookstore or online. Yes, the book may be bulkier and may not fit in your handbag, but your eyes will thank you for not feeling strained.
Breaking down and buying that first pair of reading glasses might seem like a painful experience, but it will mean ultimate relief for your tired eyes. You only need to wear reading glasses when you need help with near vision, so just keep them accessible for those times.
You might think that an Amazon Kindle or Barnes and Noble Nook might make your eye strain even worse, but these e-readers use a special display called eInk which mimics the look of printed paper. Another advantage of e-readers is backlighting, which allows for higher contrast in darker environments.
So what is the best way to read that newest book on your shelf? Experts conclude that people with poor vision may benefit from an e-reader because of the backlit screen. However, you need to decide what works best for you. If you have only ever used print media books, go to a bookstore to try out an e-reader and compare it to a large print book. Sometimes, having both options in front of you is the best way to decide.
Regardless of what you choose, take regular breaks from reading a book or e-reader to give your eyes a break. Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something at least 20 feet away. It’s called the 20-20-20 rule (Source: Rebuild Your Vision).