August 24, 2022
Vision changes can occur at any age, but they are particularly likely as you get older. Whether it’s due to natural age-related deterioration, or the result of an underlying health condition, the good news is that these vision changes don’t have to negatively impact your quality of life.
Here are some of the eye conditions which you may be more at risk for, and how you can expect your eyecare to change as you get older.
Unfortunately, as we get older, we are simply more likely to suffer from problems with our eyes and vision. Here are some of the eye diseases and issues that are more likely to develop after the age of 60:
Presbyopia is the name used to describe a refractive vision problem that occurs after the age of 40. In presbyopia, the natural lens of the eye starts to harden, making it harder for it to make minor alterations required to change focus. Presbyopia doesn’t cause blindness, but it will mean a change in your usual prescription lenses to improve the clarity of your vision.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) affects part of the eye called the macula. This is found within the retina at the back of the eye and is responsible for central vision, our ability to see color and fine detail. This means that activities like reading, driving, watching tv and even recognizing people around us can all be affected by deterioration of the macula.
Cataracts are a well-known causing of vision loss in people over the age of 60. Cataracts are cloudy patches that form in the lens of the eye, which is usually clear. They are progressive, meaning that they will get bigger and more obstructive the longer they are left. They can develop in one eye or both and cause blurred vision that is similar to looking through frosted glass. Patients may also experience colors looking faded and increased sensitivity to light and glare.
Glaucoma is a leading cause of permanent vision loss. It occurs when too much pressure builds within the eye, causing damage to the optic nerve. It usually develops very slowly over a number of years, and the only symptom that patients notice tends to be loss of peripheral vision. Any vision lost due to glaucoma is permanent.
Retinal detachment is more common in older people too. This occurs when the retina separates from the underlying tissue and causes permanent vision loss.
Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes, a metabolic condition that is more common in people who are overweight or older. It’s caused by the body being unable to regulate its blood sugar levels properly and can be quite dangerous. However, many people are surprised to learn it can affect the eyes. Persistently high blood sugar levels can damage the blood vessels serving the retina, causing vision problems.
Since vision problems are more likely in senior adults, you can expect to have to attend appointments with your eye doctor more regularly as you age. If you don’t currently wear prescription eyewear, it’s likely that your vision will start to deteriorate, and you will need to wear glasses or contact lenses to improve your vision. If this happens, you’ll probably need to attend at least annual appointments, so that your eye doctor can monitor your sight. They will also be performing assessments that evaluate whether you are developing any of the age-related eye diseases and complications listed above. This is important as the sooner they are detected, the more quickly treatment can begin. This could help to prevent any unnecessary vision loss and preserve your sight for longer.
For more information, contact Maine Coast Eye Care at our office in Rockport, Maine. You can call (207) 887-0022 to book an appointment today.