As you age, the body begins to lose some of the strength it once had; the eyes are no different. Over time, you may experience age-related vision changes like presbyopia, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, or macular degeneration. These changes are common among adults, especially those in their forties and beyond, and while these issues and changes are not life-threatening, monitoring them with annual visits and at-home vision monitoring is vital to prolonging the health of your eyes.
Common Vision Changes
Around age forty, the lens of the eye begins to lose its pliability, and it becomes increasingly difficult to focus on objects at close range. While this is a normal part of the aging process, it does have a name – presbyopia.
When presbyopia settles in, you may need reading glasses, or, as you age, and presbyopia becomes increasingly more severe, you may need one pair of glasses for reading and another for everyday tasks.
Presbyopia can be corrected via surgery such as LASIK, refractive lens exchange, corneal inlays, or keroplasty.
Cataracts are another common age-related vision change that is a normal part of the aging process, so much so that half of sixty-five-year olds in America have some form of cataract in one or both of their eyes.
If you notice changes in your vision, talk to your eye doctor right away. Cataract surgery can effectively restore any vision loss due to cataracts. However, it is best to have them removed at the earliest onset, before they progress too far.
Diabetic retinopathy is damage to the retina caused by diabetes. It occurs when blood sugar accumulates in blood vessels and prevents the flow of blood to locations throughout the body, including the eyes. While it is a common age-related vision change, it typically affects those with diabetes who do not monitor their eye health by getting routine eye exams or those who do not properly monitor their diabetes.
Glaucoma is one of the most dangerous age-related vision changes because it often shows no symptoms. It occurs when pressure builds inside the eye and causes damage to the optic nerve. Because glaucoma shows no symptoms, routine eye exams are the best way to prevent blurriness and blindness, which can occur when glaucoma goes undiagnosed or untreated.
The macula controls the fine details you see on TV, in people’s faces, as well as letters on a page when you read. It is located in the center of the retina and as you age, new blood vessels form where they do not belong. The formation of these blood vessels cause deterioration, which results in a progressive loss of vision. This progressive loss of vision is called macular degeneration. When macular degeneration begins to occur, you may notice distortion or blurriness, or you may see black obscurities in the center of your vision.
Remedies for age-related vision changes
With almost all age-related vision disorders, monitoring your eye health is key. Routine eye exams are the best way to ensure you maintain good vision into your senior years. Diagnosing glaucoma, especially, vitally depends upon early detection, which can be treated with surgery, however, medicated eye drops are often prescribed to reduce pressure in the eye and, therefore, control the disorder. Macular degeneration also relies on early detection, as your ophthalmologist will be able to spot symptoms before they even begin to appear. As is the case with presbyopia and cataracts, surgery to improve or restore vision to its optimal state is also an option if macular degeneration occurs. In addition to routine eye exams, wearing sunglasses, eating a healthy diet, and at-home vision monitoring with the EyeQue Personal Vision Tracker and EyeQue Insight can also help prolong common age-related vision problems.