One day you wake up and things don't quite look the same. Trying to read an article on your phone or computer but the letters seem too small, can’t see which button is the mute button on the remote control, and then you realize everything your parents told you about aging has now begun to happen to you. “The eyes are the first to go,” they would say. Maybe you find you need more light in order to see things, or have a hard time distinguishing some colors (hey, some do look alike). Find that you can’t focus as well or have trouble seeing up close? Welcome to middle age, friends! It’s normal to find yourself identifying with those issues. Congrats to you who have made it through the ages 40 to 60 WITHOUT having experienced at least one of these problems. A lot of things can happen as we age, and yes, a change in our eyesight is normal. As we unlock the facts about eyesight and aging, we’ll talk about the different things that can happen and give you a heads up for conditions that don’t need to be ignored.
Know The Possibilities
As we age, the risk for certain eye conditions increases. Some of those are:
- Cataracts - This occurs when the lens of your eye becomes cloudy. Cataracts are a common problem that happen to many people as they age. Fortunately it is easily corrected now by surgery where new, clear lenses are implanted in your eye. It’s a fairly easy procedure and you are home within a matter of hours.
- Age related macular degeneration - AMD has become the leading cause of vision loss , affecting more than 11 million people in the United States alone.
- Glaucoma - A conglomerate of several eye diseases that fall under one category, glaucoma takes away your vision, little by little, usually with very little symptoms and very little warning. A good reason to keep up your yearly eye exams.
How To Protect Your Vision
Just like frequent check-ups with your doctor are important for your physical health, the same is true for your eye and optical health. What are some ways you can be proactive to keep your eyes healthy as you age?
- Keep your blood pressure within normal range
- Exercise on a regular basis
- Don’t smoke
- Make sure your diet includes vegetables that are green and leafy, and fish
- Wear sunglasses when you are outside and a hat to shield your eyes from the sun’s rays
- If you have diabetes, follow doctor’s orders and keep it under control
- When playing sports or working outdoors, make sure to wear protective eye gear
Signs And Symptoms
The medical term for some age related eye issues is presbyopia. Presbyopia is defined as the eyes losing their ability to focus on nearby materials or objects that happens over time, as age progresses. If you find yourself in that “middle age” range or headed for it soon, you’ll want to know what to look for (pun intended) in these age related vision changes.
- “Read the fine print” becomes increasingly difficult as printed words on pages and screens become harder to see because the lens in your eye becomes less flexible as you age, making it a challenge to focus on things near to you
- Dimly lit areas will make it even harder for your eyes to focus, so you will find more light and brighter light in your given area will help your eyes greatly
- Your eyes have a clear lens that can discolor over time as you age, making colors not as easy to distinguish as they once were
- The glare from bright light may become a hindrance to your sight. Whether it’s from sunlight reflecting off objects during the day or the glare from oncoming headlights at night, glare could become a problem for your eyes to not focus properly
- As our eyes age, our tear glands can produce fewer tears which can leave eyes feeling irritated and dry. Tears are necessary for clear eyesight
- Vision becomes blurry at our normal reading distance
- Annoying headaches or eye strain happen due to work done “up close”
- Finding yourself holding your reading material further away to see the words clearly
Ways To Help Age Related Eye Issues
If getting older wasn’t bad enough the thought of all these eye issues can be quite depressing. But don’t give up! There are plenty of ways to fight the effects of age related vision changes, some of which are quite simple!
- Always see your eye doctor on a regular basis
- Eyeglasses are a great help, whether they be reading glasses, telescopic glasses, progressive lenses or bifocals, lenses that filter out light, your eye doctor can point you in the right direction with the right solution
- Contact lenses with multifocal lenses and/or monovision can help
- Sometimes laser surgery or other refractive procedures can be a good solution
- There are handheld devices you can buy that you hold over your reading materials that make it easier to see and read more easily
See Better, Live Better
Aging isn’t easy. In fact, it can be quite difficult, but going into infomed and proactive can make your later years some of your best years. Your eyes are essential so take the best care of them that you possibly can. Keep regular appointments with your eye doctor and go whenever something out of the ordinary happens. You deserve to clearly see the best years ahead!
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