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Aging Eyes and Common Vision Problems

Aging eyes and related Vision problems are eye diseases and conditions that are common to the elderly. As you age, so do your eyes and other parts of your body.

Getting older affects your body in a lot of ways, and it includes many health issues. It is common knowledge that as you age, your vision also degenerates. Your aging eyes no longer work as effectively as they used to during your younger years.

I wanted to know what age-related vision problems are usually experienced by seniors. I searched, and these are what I came up with.

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Common Problems Experienced with Aging Eyes

Dry Eyes

As you grow older, your tear ducts can no longer produce as many tears as it used to, causing your eyes to dry. This problem is uncomfortable and causes itching, burning, and even vision loss in some cases.

Your doctor may prescribe a unique eye drop that can simulate real tears. Your doctor may also suggest that you use a humidifier in your home. Surgery may be necessary for severe cases.

Floaters

These are specks or spots that float across your field of vision. Often, floaters are reasonable, especially when you are out under the bright sun or when you are in a bright-lit room. However, floaters can also be an indication of a more serious eye problem.

Floaters accompanied by light flashes may indicate a retinal detachment. If you notice any changes in the number of spots of bright flashes you experience, go to your eye doctor right away.

Personal Note: My aging eyes have had a single floater now for more than five years. Mostly I don’t notice it. I have got used to it, and it’s not apparent all the time. I once had flashes in the corner of my eye. My sister in law has had a retinal detachment. I chatted with her. I never had the flashes again; my optician said not to worry unless they came back.

Presbyopia

aging eyes need checkupsThis age-related vision problem is characterized by the loss of the ability to see small prints or see objects up close. Presbyopia develops gradually over your lifetime. You may not notice presbyopia symptoms until you turn 40. People with this condition usually read books or other reading materials at an arm’s length.

If you have this eye condition, you may also experience headaches or tired eyes when you are doing close work or when you are reading. Presbyopia is usually treated with reading glasses.

Presbyopia surgery is available in the form of Lazik treatments. However, it’s essential to know that more age-related vision problems can occur as you age, and your presbyopia correction may not be permanent because your eyes will continue to change.

Personal Note:  When I was about 26, I realized I was short-sighted and started to wear glasses, especially for long-distance reading, which including driving. I wondered if eyesight improves with age. As I aged, my short-sightedness has improved. I have 20/20 vision again for long-range reading, so glasses are not needed for driving. However, my Aging Eyes do have Presbyopia. I have bifocals for my computer screen and for reading very close up.

Your vision does change with age. A yearly appointment to have your eyesight checked is as important as your annual physical.

Tearing or Too Many Tears

Tearing can be caused by sensitivity to light, temperature changes, or wind. Wearing sunglasses or using a protective shield on your eyes usually solves the problem. However, too much tearing can also mean eye infection or blocked tear duct.

In some cases, excessive tearing happens because dry eyes are easily irritated. Your eye doctor can treat both of these conditions

There are more eye diseases and disorders that are common to older adults.

Cataracts

These are a clouding of the lens of the eye. In most cases, cataracts develop slowly. In the early stages, they don’t usually affect your vision. Wearing eyeglasses and using stronger lighting often helps. As it progresses, it can cause blurry vision and affect your daily activities such as driving and recognizing colors. Undergoing surgery usually restores your sight even in advanced cases.

Glaucoma

It is several conditions that cause damage to the optic nerve, which results in vision loss. Abnormally high pressure in the eye or inadequate circulation damages the optic nerve, which is responsible for carrying images from the eye to the brain.

Glaucoma is painless and usually has no apparent symptoms until there is a significant loss of peripheral (side) vision. Treatment for glaucoma includes oral medications, eye drops, surgery, and laser treatment.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

This eye disease affects the macula, the center of the retina found at the back of the eye. The macula is a small part of the retina, which allows you to see colors and fine details. It is responsible for detailed vision, such as reading and facial recognition. AMD causes central vision loss. However, peripheral (side) vision is not affected.

Nutritional supplements may help during the early stages of AMD. However, for advanced stages, there is no cure for AMD. For less severe cases, injection of medication or laser treatment might help.

Do Eye Muscles Weaken As We Get Older?

aging eyes can experience focus problems

One of the most undeniable signs of aging is the change in vision.

As you age, the muscles that regulate the size of the pupils weaken. As a result, your pupils become smaller, react slowly to light, and dilate slowly in the dark. This is why, when you turn 60, objects may look dimmer, you get dazzled when you go to a bright room from a dim-lit room, and you have trouble going to a darker environment from a brightly-lit surrounding.

These changes can be bothersome when you are also suffering from cataracts.

The following changes in your eyes occur as you get older:

  • Focusing on the close object becomes harder due to the stiffening of the eye lens.
  • Seeing in dim light is harder because the lens of eyes is denser.
  • Your pupil is slower in reacting to changes in light.
  • The lens of your eyes yellows, affecting the way you perceive colors.
  • Your nerve cells decreases, which results in impaired depth perception.
  • Aging eyes produce fewer tears, making your eyes feel dry.

When Will You Notice Deterioration of Vision?

Much earlier than you might think!

In your early to middle 40s, you may start to notice that your eyesight is no longer as sharp as before. You may begin to experience problems seeing objects up close, especially when you are working on your computer or when you are reading.

Presbyopia or the standard change in the eye’s ability to focus usually develops in adults aged 41 to 60. This change will continue to develop gradually over your lifetime.

How Can the Elderly Help Vision Problems?

Good vision is essential for a better life experience. Even as you age, there are things you can do to help maintain your vision:

Regular Examinations

vision exam

When you reach the age of 40 and above, it is essential to visit your eye doctor for examinations regularly. As there are some eye diseases and conditions that develop without apparent signs and symptoms, it is recommended to have your eyes checked every two years.

Also, when you encounter any eye injuries, don’t think that a simple cold compress will do the trick. Go to your eye doctor and have it checked. It’s the best option when you have an eye injury.

Proper Nutrition

Proper diet is essential in maintaining and preserving your eye health, and experts agree on this. Foods rich in antioxidants such as green, leafy vegetables, fish, and Vitamins A and C are recommended. Foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids like salmon are essential for the health of the macula, the part of the retina responsible for central vision.

Most adults do not get the recommended amount of eye nutrients from food alone. Consult your doctor for eye vitamins explicitly made to provide balanced nutrients for your eye’s health.

Regular Exercise

Exercise has many health benefits. It helps improve blood circulation, which in turn enhances oxygen levels to the eyes and helps remove toxins.

Proper Sleep

Getting enough sleep does not only improve your overall health and mood, but it also supports your eye’s health. You need at least 7 hours of sleep every night. To achieve this, refrain from drinking coffee or tea before bedtime, avoid using your cell phones and other devices, and stick to your sleeping schedule.

Wear Sunglasses Outdoors

aging eyes benefit from wearing sunglassesStaying under the sun can be harmful to your aging eyes due to the UV rays of the sun. When you are outdoors, wear sunglasses with UV protection. You may also wear a hat with a wide brim to help block the UV rays from reaching your eyes.

Quit Smoking

Smoking exposes your eyes to oxidative stress. Smoking is also known to increase your risk of developing AMD.

Related Questions

Can You Strengthen Your Eye Muscles?

Experts agree that eye exercises can help strengthen weak eye muscles, improve muscle tone, and boost blood circulation. However, exercise alone will not improve your vision. You still need to wear your eyeglasses or contact lenses.

What Can Cause Eyesight to Deteriorate?

As you grow older, it is normal for your vision to change over time. However, if your vision worsens suddenly, it might be an indication of an underlying health issue, so you need to visit your eye doctor right away to figure out what’s going on.

Can Eyesight Improve?

There is no easy and quick fix for eye problems. However, with proper diet, good nutrition, and exercise, you can still help maintain your eyesight naturally. As always, consult your eye doctor.

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This post first appeared on Health And Life | We Explain Complex Medical Stuff, please read the originial post: here

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Aging Eyes and Common Vision Problems

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