Age can bring huge performance-related changes to a person’s eyesight. Some of them, such as presbyopia or the worsening ability to focus clearly on close objects, are normal and don’t necessarily mean there’s any sort of disease going on. And while cataracts usually develop in seniors, they can be readily corrected with surgery.
Some adults are more at risk of certain eye diseases that have the potential to affect their quality of life as they grow older. However, having healthy eyes even for people older than 60 is possible. There are various ways to help take care of the eyes and maintain lifelong visual clarity. In this article, experts discuss common age-related eye problems and their corrective measures.
Common Vision Changes
Most adults, after reaching the milestone age of 40, will find it more difficult to see close objects or small print. Presbyopia, the condition responsible for this, develops slowly over time. The lens inside the eyes begins to lose its ability to change shape, and over time, leads to a decline in vision. When they experience this gradual decline in focusing ability, some compensate by hold the reading material a little farther away from their eyes. In any case, you will need progressive lenses, reading glasses, or multifocal contact lenses eventually.
There are corrective surgery options available for presbyopia, including monovision LASIK, corneal inlays, refractive lens exchange, and conductive keratoplasty. As you age through your 50s and beyond. This condition becomes more advanced. You may notice the need for frequent changes in your contact lens and eyeglass prescriptions. You may even find that having one prescription is not enough to help you with various tasks, such as working at the computer or going out of the house.
2. Dry Eyes
This occurs when tear glands make poor quality tears or just can’t produce enough tears. Dry eyes can cause irritation, itching, burning, or even some loss of vision. Your eye doctor may recommend using special eye drops that simulate real tears or having a humidifier in your home. For severe cases of dry eyes, surgery may be needed.
These are tiny flecks and spots that drift aimlessly around in your field of sight. Ordinary eye floaters may be annoying, but they are quite common and generally aren’t cause for alarm. These specks usually appear when tiny pieces of the gel-like vitreous break lose within the inner back portion of the eye. From birth throughout your youth, the vitreous sustains its thick consistency. But as you age, the vitreous starts to liquefy and become watery.
Noticing a few floaters from time to time is normal. However, if you see a shower of spots and flecks, especially if they are accompanied by flashes of light, you should have your eyes checked by an eye doctor immediately.
Your eyes can produce too many tears from sensitivity to wind, light, or temperature changes. A simple solution is to wear sunglasses when you’re out in the sun. If that doesn’t help, there may be an underlying problem that needs to be treated first, like an eye infection or a blocked tear duct.
Major Eye Disorders
Some eye disorders develop from an existing condition or have grown over time due to a person’s lifestyle habits. These need to be monitored by a health professional to prevent them from leading to complete loss of vision.
These are extremely common among seniors that they are classified as a normal aging change. In fact, nearly half of all Americans aged 65 have some degree of cataract formation in their eyes. As you reach your 70s, the risk just gets higher.
Fortunately, surgery is a safe and effective way to eliminate cataracts and restore vision. It’s important to have regular eye checkups, especially for seniors to correct cataracts before they advance too far.
Most people with glaucoma have no early symptoms and that can prevent them from getting treated early. This condition is related to increased pressure inside the eye that could lead to permanent vision loss or blindness. Detecting glaucoma requires an eye exam. Your doctor will measure the pressure in the optic nerve. Treatment may include oral medications, prescription eye drops, surgery, or laser treatment.
3. Retinal Disorders
These problems prevent the retina from carrying visual images along the optic nerve to the brain, resulting in vision loss. Retinal disorders are the main causes of blindness in the United States. These are the most common types:
Retinal Detachment – This occurs when the outer and inner layers of the retina become separated. Vision becomes impossible without the retina, so surgery or laser treatment is often the solution to reattach this part and bring all or part of the lost eyesight.
Diabetic Retinopathy – This is a complication of diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy starts when small blood vessels stop giving the retina the nutrition that it needs. In its early stages, the blood vessels may leak liquid and cause blurred eyesight. Sometimes, there’s no symptom at all. For preserving vision, laser and drug injections are recommended. For more advanced cases, however, laser treatment may prevent blindness. It’s important to keep your blood sugar levels in check and have an eye exam with pupil dilation annually.
Age-related Macular Degeneration – The macula contains millions of nerve cells that are sensitive to light. This portion is essential for clear and detailed vision. AMD is characterized by the loss of cells in this area. It contributes to vision loss but does not lead to blindness. There is currently no cure for advanced cases, but it can be regulated with nutritional supplements at its early stages.
Whether you’re already struggling with an age-related sight condition, there are many ways to improve your eye health. Frequent screenings, a healthy diet, and some lifestyle changes can significantly increase your chance of enjoying healthy vision through your golden years. Here at Arizona Retinal Specialists, our specialists deliver top-of-the-line vision correction procedures. To book an appointment, call us at 623-474-3937 (EYES).