Age-Related Vision Problems
Did you know there are currently more than 40 million people age 65 and older in the United States, and that number is to double by 2050? With the growing number of older adults, eye disease and vision loss are becoming primary concerns. Some of us will experience common vision problems as we age. Others will experience more serious age-related eye diseases that can greatly affect our quality of life as we grow older.
Common Age-Related Vision Changes
Presbyopia is farsightedness caused by loss of elasticity of the lens of the eye, occurring as you age. Treatment will likely include reading glasses, progressive lenses, or multifocal contact lenses. As you continue to age, presbyopia will become more advanced in which you may notice more frequent changes in your prescription.
A cataract is a condition caused by gradual clouding of the crystalline lens, usually caused by age. Cataracts typically form slowly, causing no pain, redness, or tearing in the eye. Treatment often includes cataract surgery in which the doctor will remove the clouded lens and replace it with a clear plastic lens. Cataract surgery once of the most common operations done in the United States and most cases is very successful at restoring regular sight.
More Severe Age-Related Eye Diseases
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common eye disease that causes damage to the macula, a small area near the center of the retina. According to the National Eye Institute, more than two million Americans have age-related macular degeneration, and it is the leading cause of vision loss among seniors. Treatment may include nutritional changes, laser or medication injections.
Glaucoma is an optic nerve disease that can result in severe impairment or loss of vision. Your risk of developing glaucoma significantly increases each year after 40. Treatment may include prescription eye drops, oral medications, laser treatment, or in some severe cases surgery.
Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that causes damage to the blood vessels of the retina. The longer someone has diabetes, and the less their blood sugars are controlled, the higher the possibility that a person will develop diabetic retinopathy. Treatment may include drug injections and laser to improve or preserve vision.
Preventing Eye Changes & Diseases
While eye conditions and diseases become more prevalent with age, many can be detected, treated early, and in some cases prevented if you:
- Schedule a routine doctor visit with your primary care provider to check for diseases that can cause affect your vision health, like diabetes.
- Schedule a yearly comprehensive eye exam with eye dilation. As part of a comprehensive eye exam, eye dilation allows your doctor to see into the back of your eye, helping to detect any abnormalities and treat or prevent future eye problems.
- See an eye doctor immediately if you experience any eye issues such as blurry vision, loss of eyesight, double vision, or irritation.
- Maintain a healthy diet and make wise lifestyle choices such as not smoking.
- Wear sunglasses, sunscreen, and a brimmed hat to prevent excess UV exposure on your eyes.
To learn more about age-related vision problems or to schedule a comprehensive eye exam, contact Vision Associates at 419-578-2020.
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