Cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration are three of the major eye health concerns that seniors face. We work with our patients on prevention, early detection, and treatment.
Here are the questions that we are asked most frequently.
Why is it harder to read after 40?
What Happens to the Eyes as We "Grow Up"?
When a person reaches "40 something" the most common problem that occurs is called, presbyopia, which means the eyes lose their ability to focus clearly on near objects. The printed word is often blurred, sewing, reading menus, maps or the morning paper is difficult without a lot of arm stretching for people over forty years old. We start needing progressive and bifocal glasses or contact to see close up.
The eyes change with age the same way your body changes with age. For example the lens of the eye yellows with age, which makes it more of a challenge to drive at night: adjusting to oncoming headlights and judging distance becomes increasingly difficult.
The older we get, the more susceptible we become to getting certain eye diseases such as:
Below are examples of how your world may look with certain eye conditions.
Noticeable symptoms of Glaucoma may be a gradual loss of side vision or blurred vision.
Patients with Cataracts see slightly "cloudy" or less distinct.
Blurred central or side vision, or blind spots anywhere in the visual field may indicate Diabetic Retinopathy.
As Macular Degeneration advances, a distorted, dark, or empty area often appears in the center of vision.
According to the American Optometric Association, approximately one in five Americans aged 85 and older suffers severe visual problem. Twelve percent of people aged 75 to 84 are severely impaired visually, compared to less than one percent of adults age 18 to 44. Severe visual impairment is uncommon, but "virtually everyone suffers some loss of visual accuracy by the age of 65."
How else will our eyes change?
Lighting: The retina is like film in a camera. As we get older, the number of cells in the retina decrease-the fewer the calls, the more difficult it is to see in dim light.
Print size: It gets more difficult to read small print as we get older because we lose focusing ability, and need more contrast to see as our eye's lenses oxidize.
Glare: We are more bothered by glare as we get older because as the lenses in our eyes oxidize and become less "perfect", light is scattered by the lens, creating glare. For example, driving at night because more difficult because of glare, and it is harder to see products displayed or stored in glass cases that produce glare.
Blur and Decreased Contrast Sensitivity: It becomes increasingly difficult to see clearly in dim lighting while reading, or driving at night.
Visual disturbances, like spots or floaters, which appear like specks, strands or threads in front of the eye become more common as we age.
How Can We Protect Our Eyes?
We can age gracefully by taking care of our eyes. We can make recommendations at your annual eye health examination such as:
Early Detection of Eye Disease
Nutrition for your eyes
We work closely with some of the leading ophthalmologists in the country, making referrals when necessary.
Do not take your eyes for granted. Respect yourself by taking care of your eyes like you take care of everything else that is important to you.
Life is worth seeing