Four Common Age-Related Eye Problems to Be Mindful of as You Age
By Emma Sturgis
Many people will notice age-related changes in their vision as they pass through their 40s and beyond. Age-related vision changes are very common, but in the early stages of these conditions there is a better chance of receiving effective treatment. Conditions like presbyopia, macular degeneration, cataracts and glaucoma can cause a serious impact on your vision if they are not treated properly.
Presbyopia is part of the normal aging process of the eye. With presbyopia, a person gradually loses the ability to focus on text or objects close up. This frequently happens after the age of 40. Presbyopia is easy to treat with reading glasses or bifocal lenses.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
AMD causes the macula to thin over time, losing function. Lost vision due to AMD cannot be regained once the area has been damaged, but in some early cases, the condition responds to the use of vitamin supplements.
There are two types of AMD: “dry” and “wet.” With “dry” AMD, waste products called drusen build up on the retina. “Wet” AMD is considered more serious. It causes new blood vessels to grow behind the retina. These new vessels are not strong, and they cause fluid, blood and lipids to leak into the retina. This can cause scar tissue and vision loss.
Cataracts are another natural consequence of aging. Most people over the age of 60 have at least some concern with cataracts. A cataract happens when the lens becomes clouded with protein deposits. Cataracts can also cause vision to become tinted with yellow or brown. Cataracts can happen in both eyes, but they cannot spread from one to the other. Fortunately, cataract treatment is usually successful using surgical methods.
Glaucoma is a serious eye condition, which is often related to diabetes and high blood pressure. With glaucoma, the pressure within the eye increases to dangerous levels. This can cause blood vessels and nerve cells within the eye to die. This is one of the most common causes of blindness. Glaucoma is treatable through the use of medications, laser treatment and surgery.
Preserve Your Vision
It is important to have annual eye exams whether or not you need glasses or contacts. An eye doctor can see early signs of these conditions so they can be effectively treated. When you pay close attention to your eye health, you will be able to preserve your vision into the future.