Images courtesy of Acuvue

Alright ladies, it’s time for some #realtalk. Are the words you’re reading on your screen a little too fuzzy when you hold your device close to your eyes? Or have you been noticing that your vision gets wonky at night?

Bad news, you might have presbyopia, or “lao hua yan” for the Mandarin speakers.

Think you’re safe just because you haven’t hit the big four-oh yet? Well, we hate to be the bearer of bad news yet again, but unfortunately, a 30-year-old suffering from presbyopia is no longer uncommon, says the good people at Acuvue.

Don’t worry though, because you’re not the only one: Zoe Tay has openly admitted to having it too. And who better to make the condition seem totally cool than the Queen of Caldecott herself?

Which is a huge reason why she’s the face of Acuvue’s new one-day multifocal contact lenses, she says in an interview with herworldPLUS. “I think it’s a good way to educate and share with people that ‘lao hua yan’ is not preventable.”

And even though she’s right, many women are still ashamed of being diagnosed with presbyopia – only 27 percent of people aged 40 to 55 years old with symptoms of presbyopia seek professional help.

Leaving presbyopia untreated can cause result in headaches and strained eyes, which only serves to worsen the condition, as Zoe Tay found out before finally getting her eyes checked.

Don’t worry, it’s not all gloom and doom! There are plenty of treatments for you – prescribed reading glasses; bi- and even trifocal lenses; or, if you’d prefer, a set of multifocal contact lenses.

If you’ve never been one for using lenses, there’s no need for anxiety. Zoe reported happily, “The experience is pretty good. I can see clearer, the lens were very comfortable, it wasn’t drying and you don’t feel like there’s anything there.”

Coming from someone who hasn’t used contact lenses for over a decade, we’ll take her word for it! Alright, we know, the fact that “lao hua” isn’t preventable does kind of suck, but there are ways you can hold it off, if just for a few years. (Which, honestly, we’ll gladly take!)

And who better to get advice from than Zoe Tay herself?

1. Sleep

“Let’s say I have a long day of filming, I try to get sleep. Sleep is very very important for us (actors), because a lot of times we have long hours of work, and it goes again the next day, [and it’ll carry on for months]. So sleep is necessary to keep your eyes […] bright and alert.”

2. Stay hydrated

“Keeping your eyes moist is very important. Try to drink (herbal drinks) like ‘geh ji’ [or ‘gou qi zi’], which is a kind of Chinese drink with [wolfberries].”

3. Massage your eyes

“Do eye massages, it’s very important! We learnt it in school from teachers, right? Even my niece came back and taught me how to do it.”

4. Wear sunglasses in the sun

This is an especially crucial habit to cultivate when going out in the bright glare of Singapore’s sun, and Zoe recommends shielding your peepers to prevent strained eyes.

5. Rest your eyes

A lot of us are guilty of staring at the computer screen for long hours, Zoe points out, and that can tire and age our eyes quickly, which leads to premature presbyopia.

“Nowadays, ‘lao hua yan’ comes much earlier. A lot of my colleagues start at 30 years old, it’s very common nowadays. It’s not that it’s an ‘old people’ problem, your eyes are just ageing. Aged and overstrained eyes [can arise] from not taking proper care of them. You have to relax your eyes after staring at things for a long time.”

6. Use a Japanese steam eye mask

“My colleague recommended it to me last year, when we were doing a project together. There’s a lavender and chamomile scent, it relaxes your eyes – I use it for days when I’m doing an event, besides doing my eye massages. My husband hates it because he says he doesn’t like the smell, but I don’t care – I like it. It steams and it’s a heat pack, and you can sleep with it. You can feel how moist your eyes are the next day. You don’t have to use the heat packs that you used to need to microwave anymore. I should endorse for that too!”

As for looking as flawless as her? Well, she’s a huge believer that everyone’s beautiful. “Mindset is very important,” she tells me, “You cannot always think you’re not beautiful.”

“Everyone is beautiful to me, it’s just how much effort you want to put in yourself, how much you want to invest in yourself. Investing in yourself means that every part of your body is important. Constantly eat well, sleep well and exercise – that’s important. Then you’ll look good inside and out.”

So there you go, ladies! Every part of you, including your flaws (and eyes, of course), is vital. We might not all get to look as effortlessly flawless as Zoe Tay, but we can age just as gracefully.

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