Just like everything else with our bodies, our eyes start changing with age, usually for the worse. Particularly as we head into our 60s and beyond, we start noticing a decline in vision. Many changes, though, like presbyopia, are totally normal and don’t mean you have a serious disease. Perhaps you just need some reading glasses.
And while cataracts are indeed an age-related disease, they are extremely common in seniors and can be corrected quite easily with cataract surgery. However, some of us experience more serious diseases that come with age that can significantly impact our quality of life. These include diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration and glaucoma.
Common Age-Related Vision Problems
There are many eye problems that can come about as we age, with the most common being:
- Presbyopia, the loss of ability to see close objects or small print. This normal process occurs slowly over a lifetime. In fact, you probably won’t notice a change until after you hit 40. This condition is corrected with simple reading glasses.
- Floaters, which are tiny spots or specks that seem to float across your field of vision. These are normal but in some cases they may indicate eye problems such as retinal detachment, especially if you also get light flashes. Call your eye doctor if you notice a sudden change in the number or type of spots and flashes.
- Dry eyes, which happen when our tear glands can’t make enough natural tears or when they produce poor-quality tears. Dry eyes are uncomfortable because they cause itching and burning. The use of a humidifier in your home or the application of special eye drops that are designed to simulate real tears could be the answer.
- Having too many tears originates from sensitivity to light, wind, or temperature changes. You can protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses. But in more severe cases, excessive tearing could indicate an eye infection or blocked tear duct.
Common Eye Diseases in Aging Adults
Eye diseases and disorders that are common in aging adults include:
- Cataracts, which are cloudy areas that develop in the lens of the eye, preventing light from passing through the lens to the back of the eye. They form slowly but aren’t painful. Those that become large or thick and significantly impact vision can be removed with surgery.
- Glaucoma, which is related to increased pressure inside the eye. When untreated, it can result in permanent vision loss and blindness. Heredity is a big risk factor, along with age, race, diabetes, and certain medications. Most people with this condition don’t have early symptoms or pain. It can only be detected through an exam.
- Retinal disorders, including age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and retinal detachment.
- Conjunctivitis, which happens when the tissue lining the eyelids and covering the sclera gets inflamed. It is also known as “pink eye” or “red eye,” causing redness, itching, burning, and tearing.
- Corneal diseases, which can cause redness, pain, watery eyes, reduced vision, or halo effect. Treatments include medicated eye drops, and possibly surgery.
Contact Simon Eye Associates
Do you experience any of these? Give us a call to book an appointment just to make sure all is well. Contact us at 302-239-1933.