Avoiding Vision Problems During Your Golden Years

Vision changes occur as you get older, but these changes don’t have to affect your lifestyle. Knowing what to expect and when to seek professional care can help you safeguard your vision.

As you reach your 60s and beyond, you need to be aware of the warning signs of age-related eye health problems that could cause vision loss. Many eye diseases have no early symptoms. They may develop painlessly, and you may not notice the changes to your vision until the condition is quite advanced. Wise lifestyle choices, regular eye exams and early detection of disease can significantly improve your chances of maintaining good eye health and vision as you age.

You may not realize that health problems affecting other parts of your body can affect your vision as well. People with diabetes or hypertension (high blood pressure), or who are taking medications that have eye-related side effects, are at greatest risk for developing vision problems.

Regular eye exams are even more important as you reach your senior years. The American Optometric Association recommends annual eye examinations for everyone over age 60. See your doctor of optometry immediately if you notice any changes in your vision.

Age-related Eye and Vision Problems

In the years after you turn 60, a number of eye diseases may develop that can change your vision permanently. The earlier these problems are detected and treated, the more likely you can retain good vision.

The following are some vision disorders to be aware of:

  • Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is an eye disease that affects the macula (the center of the light-sensitive retina at the back of the eye) and causes central vision loss. Although small, the macula is the part of the retina that allows us to see fine detail and colors. Activities like reading, driving, watching TV and recognizing faces all require good central vision provided by the macula. While macular degeneration decreases central vision, peripheral or side vision remains unaffected.
  • Cataracts are cloudy or opaque areas in the normally clear lens of the eye. Depending upon their size and location, they can interfere with normal vision. Usually cataracts develop in both eyes, but one may be worse than the other. Cataracts can cause blurry vision, decreased contrast…

This article was sourced from the American Optometric Association.

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