Getting out of your chair doesn’t come without a grunt these days and, when you want to take some medicine to relieve the ache in your knees, you can’t read the label. Aging can certainly cast a wide net and includes your eye health and vision.
Not that we want to give you more to worry about as you get older, but Dr. Curtis Frank and the team here at Vision and Ortho-K Center want to make sure you understand some of the age-related eye issues you can come up against. With this information, our goal is to help you recognize the early signs of a problem so we can act quickly.
Presbyopia — losing near vision
Let’s start with something that affects most of us at some point — a loss of near vision. If you’re finding that reading small print or seeing things that are close to you is becoming more difficult, you’re most certainly not alone. Called presbyopia, this condition affects about 80% of people between the ages of 45 and 55, and this number only grows in older age groups.
The reason why you struggle to see things that are close is because your eyes aren’t focusing as well, which is perfectly natural. Presbyopia is progressive and can be easily remedied with a pair of readers.
Issues with floaters, glare, and low light
In addition to losing near vision, many people face other eye-related issues as they get older. For starters, you may need more light to see. You can also encounter problems with glare, making driving at night more difficult. Lastly, you might develop floaters in your field of vision.
These are all normal occurrences and not cause for concern. Some lifestyle adjustments can help — more light to read, for example. We can also help with glare issues with specialized lenses.
About 20 million Americans have dry eye disease (DED), which is a condition that’s very much related to age. DED occurs when your eyes don't produce enough tears or there’s a malfunction or imbalance in your tears. As a result, you can be left with extremely dry, itchy eyes.
Thankfully, we do offer solutions for DED, from artificial tear drops to plugs that block drainage in your eyes.
Age-related eye diseases
There are certain eye disease that count age as the primary risk factor, including:
Cataracts occur when there’s clouding in your lenses, which interferes with your vision. By the age of 75, about half of people have cataracts. Resolving cataracts is possible through lens replacement.
This is an eye condition in which there's too much pressure inside your eye, which can damage your optic nerve.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
With AMD, you gradually lose central vision, thanks to issues in the macula at the center of your retina.
One point we want to get across about the eye diseases we listed toward the end — cataracts, glaucoma, and AMD — is that there are steps we can take to control progression and preserve your vision. This is why it’s so important to keep up with your regular eye exams after the age of 50.
To schedule your comprehensive eye exam, please make an appointment at one of our offices in Boston or Newton Upper Falls, Massachusetts.