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Why Are My Arms Getting Shorter Doc??

Today we are going to talk about a common question that I get asked most every day. Which is, “Why are my arms getting so short doc?”  You wouldn’t really think you would hear this question very often at an EYE doctor’s office. But it actually has a lot to do with your eyes.

You see, most people in their early 40s start noticing that when they're reading or doing something up close they have to hold things a little further away from their eyes to focus on it.

Holding things further away makes it easier to see, but eventually your arms can’t stretch out any further and this is when people start noticing “their arms getting shorter.”  This is also about the time people head to the dollar store to try on a pair of reading glasses.

So today I’m going to explain a bit more about what is actually happening with your eyes around your early 40s.  Sometimes it helps to see this demonstration visually. So if you prefer to watch a video of this instead, head on over to the video on my YouTube channel (while you are there if you like what you see go ahead and click on the subscribe or like button).  If you don’t like YouTube you can find it on my Facebook page too.

Here we go.

Inside your eye, behind your pupil you have a lens (kind of like a camera lens), and that lens has muscles attached to it.  When you look at something up close those muscles flex so they can focus and when you look at something far away the muscles relax.  Think of those muscles like a rubber-band. When you first start using a rubber-band, it’s nice and stretchy and pops back into place really well.  Over time that rubber band starts to stretch out more and more, and eventually it doesn’t pop back into place. The muscles in your eye are the same as that rubber band, which is exactly why people over the age of 40 or so start needing reading glasses.  Some of the symptoms associated with tired eye muscles are, blurry vision (far or near), tired eyes, headaches, double vision and redness. The technical term for this is Presbyopia, or short-arm syndrome.

Now, for some people, over the counter reading glasses are the solution to this problem.  For most people, over the counter reading glasses can only do so much. Another caveat I will mention is this.  Some people believe that you can strengthen these muscles and some people claim by strengthening these muscles they can avoid wearing reading glasses.  I have seen this work for some people but definitely not all people.

So there you have it.  If you would like to learn more about the different options for fixing this problem, check out this article.


If you have specific questions about any of this send an email to