How Does Eyesight Change As We Age?
As with every part of our body, our eyes are not immune to the effects of aging. Some conditions, such as cataracts, affect virtually everyone during the later stages of life. This makes it essential to have regular eye exams so any issues can be picked up early, monitored, and necessary measures put in place.
The following discusses how our eyes change as the years roll by.
Natural Eye Aging
- Common eye aging conditions
- All about cataracts
Common eye aging conditions
The pivotal age when most of us begin to notice changes in our eyesight happens at around 40 years of age. The following are some of the most common conditions:
- Presbyopia: This is a difficulty in focusing on objects when they’re close to us. It’s caused by the aging of the lens inside the eye, meaning it can’t easily change shape to allow you to focus. This tends to worsen after the age of 50, by which time most people will require some kind of vision correction in the form of glasses, contacts, or laser surgery. You might also find that you need different prescriptions for different activities—so one set of glasses for reading and another for driving.
- Dry eyes: We produce fewer tears as we age, and this can cause the eyes to become dry. Symptoms include a burning, stinging sensation as well as the eyes feeling ‘gritty’. This is more common for women post-menopause.
- Colors become less bright: Occurs because the cells in the retina that detect color decrease with age.
- Decreasing peripheral vision: Again, this naturally progresses with age, reducing around 1-3 degrees every 10 years.
- AMD: Which stands for age-related macular degeneration. While the disease certainly doesn’t affect everyone, it’s estimated that some 2 million Americans currently suffer. It’s the leading cause of blindness among seniors.
- Glaucoma: This is caused by raised pressure within the eye that builds and causes damage to the optic nerve. The risk of developing glaucoma increases as you age, from around a 1% chance for those in their 40s to approximately 12% when you reach your 80s.
However, the condition that most people are concerned about as they age is cataracts. Thankfully, there are now many treatments to remove them, restoring vision and preventing what was once a leading cause of blindness in the US. Sadly, the condition is still responsible for the loss of vision for millions of people around the world every year.
All about cataracts
In the majority of cases, cataracts develop at a slow pace over a number of years. They don’t cause any pain and can affect one or both eyes. They are caused by the degradation of the lens within the eye.
At first, there are no symptoms. Most are picked up during routine eye exams and then monitored until such a time as intervention is needed. When symptoms start to appear they typically manifest in the following manner:
Seeing halos around a light source
Reduced nighttime vision
Colors appearing yellowed or faded
Frequent prescription changes.
Treatment for Cataracts
- Cataract surgery
Today’s cataract surgery is so advanced that most people can be treated in the doctor’s office and return home the same day. Recovery is usually swift and, in best-case scenarios, some people don’t even need eyeglasses for certain conditions post-treatment.
The procedure removes the diseased lens and replaces it with an artificial one, known as an intraocular lens (IOL). The type of lens fitted will be determined by your lifestyle, needs, and discussed with your eye surgeon as to the type that best suits you.
Worried About Cataracts and Age-Related Eye Conditions? Contact the WBEC Today
The formation of cataracts as we age is something virtually everyone will suffer from. Thankfully, for most there are advanced techniques that can remove them, restoring near-perfect vision. The West Boca Eye Center is a center of expertise in this area, offering cutting-edge techniques often not available elsewhere.
The first step to great eyesight throughout your life is an in-depth consultation. Visit https://westbocaeyecenter.com/services/cataract-surgery/ to find out more and book your appointment today.