How Vision Changes with Age
Numerous changes come as a person ages with vision being one of them. In most cases, people start experiencing vision changes as they approach their 60th birthday and beyond. The changes can be as a result of genes, lifestyle, or weather. Presbyopia is one of the most common age-related vision changes. This eye condition is perfectly normal and does not in any way signify any disease process. The condition can be corrected by using the standard reading glasses. There are other age-related vision problems that can be corrected using simple solutions such as surgery. However, not all eye conditions can be corrected, and some age-related conditions have the potential to affect a person’s quality of life. Here is a list of some conditions we should expect some of us to suffer from in the future.
Common age-related vision changes
This condition is usually experienced after a person has passed the age of 40. The state leads to the lens being unable to change shape, which makes it challenging for one to focus on objects up close. Usually, people whose conditions have not deteriorated can compensate by holding their respective reading materials further away from their eyes. However, as one continues to age, they will need reading glasses or other types of lenses to correct the problem. In rare cases, people can resort to corrective surgery to remedy the situation. As the condition worsens, the need to continually change eyeglasses arises.
As one grows older, the eye’s lenses may start to turn cloudy. The condition leads to hazy vision, difficulties while focusing, and glare affects eyesight. It can, however, be corrected by using surgery where the affected lens is replaced using a synthetic one. In most cases, cataracts start to form when a person turns 50, although the need for surgery may come one or two decades later. This condition is one of the leading causes of vision loss in the United States. One can try to reduce the chances of developing cataracts by consuming vitamin C, reducing one’s exposure to wind or UV rays, and wearing glasses and hats.
- Reduced pupil size
Age affects the eye muscles that regulate the pupils’ size and ability to react to the light. The condition leads to the pupils becoming smaller and unable to respond to changes in ambient lighting. As a result of this condition, older folks require light three folds compared to younger people. Additionally, older people tend to be dazzled by bright sunlight and glare, especially when coming from inadequately lit places. One can reduce the effects of this problem by using eyeglasses that have photochromic lenses and anti-reflective coating.
- Dry eyes
Tears are necessary for moistening and protecting the cornea. However, the ability of the tear glands to work correctly is affected as people grow older. In most cases, the condition is a result of various inflammations caused by different weather conditions and other lifestyle factors such as blood pressure.
The condition can be corrected by using artificial tears and a lifetime application of the recommended gels. However, one can reduce the chance of the condition developing by eating foods rich in omega 3 such as salmon or taking Chia seeds.
- Loss of peripheral loss
Aging causes a person to lose their range of peripheral vision, usually by 1 to 3 degrees per decade of life. As such, one may have lost peripheral visual field by a staggering 20 to 30 degrees by the time one gets to their 70s or 80s. The loss usually makes one susceptible to accidents; hence one should be extra cautious when carrying out numerous activities, especially when driving. Unfortunately, this condition can’t be corrected, and a person is advised to turn their head in all directions, mostly when approaching intersections.
- Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
AMD develops when a part of the retina(macula) starts to grow thin due to age. The condition does not necessarily lead to a complete loss of vision; however, it impairs our central vision, which in turn affects the quality of our lives. The condition is hereditary, which means it may affect numerous people in one family. In most cases, the first sign of the condition is noticeable when one reaches 60 years. However, the real damage might not be evident until one is 70 years or more. There is no proven method of reversing the conditions, but eating food rich in vitamins can help control the condition.
Warning signs of eyesight problems
- Fluctuating visions
Frequent changes in how one clearly sees may be an indication of lifestyle conditions that might affect one’s eyesight. Mostly, these conditions affect blood vessels in the retina and layers at the back of the eye.
- Seeing floaters and flashes
Floaters are shadowy images of particles that are seen to be floating in the eye’s liquid. Floaters are usually considered a part of the eye’s aging process. Floaters are not often regarded as harmful; however, if bright flashes of light accompany them, one should make a point of visiting an optometrist immediately.
- Seeing distorted images
When one starts to notice straight lines that may appear distorted or wavy may be signs of age-related eyesight problems, especially AMD.
How to maintain healthy eyesight
The National Institute of Aging has offered numerous techniques that can be used by older people to ensure they have healthy eyesight.
- You can best protect your eyesight by avoiding UV rays, which the institute says can be reduced by wearing sunglasses and hats when one is outside.
- Also, one should quit certain behaviors such as smoking, which increases the risk of contracting eye diseases.
- One should eat highly nutritious foods that help support eye health.
- One should be physically active to reduce the chances of eyesight problems. Being fit helps one reduce lifestyle conditions such as blood pressure that usually play a crucial role in the development of eyesight problems.
- Reduce eye strain.