Aging and Your Eyes

Aging and Your Eyes

As you age, your body changes, and your eyes are no exception. Fortunately, in this modern era, there are treatments for most age-related problems. In this blog we’ll discuss some of the common effects of aging on your eyes, and what you can do to keep your eyes healthy.

Woman reading and drinking from a cup

Presbyopia

Presbyopia is a condition in which the eye loses its ability to focus on images up close. You may notice symptoms such as blurry vision up close, needing additional light to read small print, or feeling like you have to hold objects farther away to read. This condition affects nearly all adults over the age of 40. It is caused when the fibers in the eye lose their elasticity, preventing them from changing the shape of the lens. The lens is no longer able to change focus from distance to near, resulting in blurry vision up close.

The solution for most people with presbyopia is reading glasses. You can speak with your optometrist to determine which power you require. If you already wear glasses, you will likely need to wear bifocal or multifocal lenses. These lenses allow you to see images far away and up close. One of the most popular multifocal lens designs is a Progressive Lens, which allows you to see distance, intermediate and up close without any lines across your lenses. For more information about multifocal lenses, read our blog The Eyewear Guide

Cataracts

Cataracts are a condition which affects approximately 24.4 million Americans over the age of 40, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. This condition occurs when the usually clear lens of the eye becomes opaque. The symptoms include hazy or blurry vision, trouble seeing at night, and changes in how colors appear. The only treatment for cataracts is surgery. Your ophthalmologist will discuss your surgery options with you when you decide that your symptoms are severe enough for treatment. For more information about cataracts, read our blog Cataract Awareness.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a condition in which pressure builds up inside the eye, eventually damaging the optic nerve and leading to loss of peripheral vision. This condition can occur at any age, but is more common in people over 60. Because there are generally no symptoms of glaucoma until vision loss is present, it is important to visit your eye doctor annually to be screened for this disease. If glaucoma is detected, the treatment may include eye drops, oral medication, laser treatment, surgery, or a combination of these. 

Blepharoptosis

Blepharoptosis or ptosis (pronounced toe-sis) is a condition in which the eyelids droop or sag. This condition can have many underlying causes. A sudden change in the eyelid may indicate a serious problem, and should be evaluated by an eye doctor as soon as possible. Often, blepharoptosis is a normal sign of aging. Over time, the eyelid muscles become weaker, making it harder to keep the eyelid open. In extreme cases, the lid will begin to cover the pupil, impairing the vision. When this occurs, surgery may be indicated to remove the excess skin. 

Age Related Macular Degeneration

Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a degenerative disease which affects the retina. It can take one of two forms: dry or wet. As the disease progresses, it can lead to distortion or loss of central vision. You are more likely to develop Macular Degeneration if you are over 50. Smokers have an increased risk. One of the early symptoms of AMD is blurry or distorted vision. This is most noticeable when looking at an Amsler Grid, which your eye doctor may give you to monitor changes in your vision. 

There are some things that you can do to help prevent AMD. If you smoke, quit. Eat a healthy diet with plenty of green, leafy vegetables and Omega 3 fatty acids. Additionally, the doctors at Mountain View Eye Center recommend an eye vitamin called AREDS 2.

If you develop wet AMD, you may need to receive treatment from an Ophthalmologist. This treatment is an intraocular injection that delivers anti-VEGF medication to the eye. This medication helps to reduce abnormal blood vessel growth and prevents the blood vessels from leaking. 

Amsler Grid:

To use, cover one eye at a time. With the other eye, focus on the black dot in the center. If you note any wavy lines, dark spots, or distortion in your vision, call your eye doctor. 

Amsler Grid

We all have unique visual needs as we age. The best way to keep your eyes healthy is by visiting your eye doctor annually for a routine exam. When problems do arise, early detection is key. Call or text Mountain View Eye Center to schedule an exam at (907) 328-2920.

Thank you for taking the time to read our blog. We hope you found it informative. You can read past issues on our website at www.mountainvieweyes.com. New articles are added weekly. 

Written by: Gina Stafford COA, LDO, ABOC

Posted in: Cataract, Eye Doctor in Alaska, Eye Health Guide, Eyes, Glasses, Glaucoma, Macular Degeneration, Patient Education, Presbyopia

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