The performance of your eyes changes as you get older, particularly during your sixties and beyond. Some eye changes are normal for example presbyopia and they do not signal any kind of disease. For these normal eye changes, prescribed reading glasses can be used as a solution. Cataract which can also be categorized under age-related eye changes can be corrected readily with surgery. There are some other common changes in the eyes for aging that can be corrected easily and is no cause for alarm. But there are others that might be cause for concern and we will be looking at both sides shortly.
Some aged people experience severe eye issues that may affect the quality of their lives drastically. Examples of some of these conditions are macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma. Asides from these conditions being age-related, a family history of the condition increases one’s chances of getting it so if you think you might be a prospective candidate for these conditions then you should go visit an eye doctor. Early treatment may give you better chances of not experiencing the extreme effects of these conditions.
Common Changes In The Eye From Aging And How To Prevent It
After passing the age milestone of forty, you will begin to have difficulty in focusing on close objects. This happens as a result of the eye lens losing its ability to change shapes, this process is referred to as presbyopia.
For a while, you would be able to compensate for this eye change by holding your reading material at a longer eye distance. Eventually, you have to get reading glasses, multifocal or progressive lenses.
There are also some corrective surgery alternatives for presbyopia such as conductive keratoplasty, corneal inlays, refractive lens exchange, and monovision LASIK.
As you progress to your fifties and beyond, this presbyopia condition advances further and you have to change your contact lens or eyeglass frequently. You might also get more than one prescription to meet your visual decline. For example, you may be given an eyeglass for your normal everyday tasks and another for working on the computer.
Although cataracts are usually considered to be an eye disease brought about by age, it occurs commonly among aged people that it might as well be classified as a normal eye change that comes with aging.
According to a survey, about fifty percent of Americans above sixty-five years have cataract formation. This percentage increases as one approach seventy years.
Thankfully there is modern surgery for cataracts that are extremely effective and safe with an almost hundred percent restoration of vision. Discuss any symptoms of cataracts you notice with your doctor without hesitation.
Cataracts are better removed before they advance further. There are also options of trying accommodating lens intraocular or multifocal implant of the lens that potentially restores all vision ranges thus decreasing the need to get a reading glass.
Major Eye Disease That Are Age-Related
Despite some inevitable age vision changes that are age-related they may help in maintaining your eye health throughout your lifetime.
- Macular degeneration: Macular degeneration that is age-related is one of the leading blindness causes amongst seniors. Above two million Americans seniors are presently battling macular degeneration. These numbers are very likely to increase by 2050 to about 5.4 million.
- Glaucoma: After the age of forty the chances of you developing glaucoma rise from one percent to about twelve percent during your eighties.
- Diabetic retinopathy: More than ten million over forty Americans are diagnosed with Americans. There is an estimation of forty percent of these numbers having a degree of the eye condition diabetic retinopathy which may result in the permanent loss of vision.
Other Eyes Changes That Are Age-Related
While we usually see aging as relating to conditions like cataracts and presbyopia, our eye structure and vision undergoes more subtle alterations as you age.
Some of these changes are:
Decreased pupil size
With aging comes the loss of strength in muscles that are responsible for controlling the pupil light reaction and size. This leads to smaller pupil sizes and also reduces its response to ambient lighting changes.
As a result of this, seniors above sixty would need increased ambient light in order to read more comfortably compared to people in their twenties. Seniors may also bet more dazzled by glare and sunlight when coming from a building that is a dimly lit room like a cinema hall. Photochromic lenses eyeglasses may help in reducing this problem.
Aging causes the body to produce fewer tears, especially in menopausal women. If you start experiencing a stinging, burning sensation, or other discomforts associated with dry eyes, apply artificial tears or see a specialized doctor for prescribed medications for dry eyes.
Peripheral vision loss
Peripheral vision is also lost due to aging with a decrease in the visual field to about three degrees every decade. Such that when you are approaching your seventies and eighties you would have twenty to thirty-degree loss of peripheral vision.
This loss may increase your risk of having an automobile accident so you have to be more careful while driving. You can increase your vision range by turning your head to look around at intersections.
Reduced color vision
Retina cells are the ones responsible for the sensitivity decline of regular color vision during aging, reducing the brightness of colors and color contrast. Blue colors, in particular, may appear washed out or faded. While there are usually no available treatment methods for this age-related color perception loss if you have a profession that involves color discrimination like an artist, electrician or seamstress you should know about this loss.
But if your fading vision color can be attributed to cataract then it can be restored through cataract surgery.
What To Do?
These common changes In the eyes of aging are almost inevitable but by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and diet you can keep them off for a long time. It is also necessary to go for a routine eye check-up and discuss any changes in your vision with your doctor.