How Vision Changes with Age
Our bodies undergo various changes as we age, and our vision is no exception. It's a natural process that happens to everyone, and there are steps we can take to help mitigate some of the negative effects. In this article, we'll explore how vision changes with age and what we can do to keep our eyes healthy.
What happens to our eyes as we age?
Our eyes go through a number of changes as we age. Some of the most common age-related vision changes include:
Presbyopia is the natural decline in our eyes' ability to focus on near objects. This condition usually affects people over the age of 40 and is caused by a hardening of the eye's lens. Symptoms of presbyopia include difficulty reading, eyestrain, and headaches.
Cataracts are a clouding of the eye's lens that can cause blurred vision and sensitivity to glare. They usually develop slowly over time, and symptoms may not be noticeable initially. Cataracts are a common condition in people over the age of 60, but they can develop at any age.
Our eyes tend to produce fewer tears as we age, which can cause dryness and irritation. This is known as dry eye syndrome and can be exacerbated by factors such as contact lens use, certain medications, and environmental factors such as wind and dry air.
Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that can damage the optic nerve and lead to vision loss. It often has no symptoms in its early stages and can affect people of all ages, but it is more common in older adults.
Age-related macular degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of vision loss in people over the age of 50. It is caused by damage to the macula, a small area in the retina's center responsible for sharp, central vision. Symptoms of AMD include blurry or distorted vision, difficulty reading, and dark or empty spots in the center of your field of vision.
Warning signs of eyesight problems
There are several warning signs that could indicate eyesight problems. Here are some common ones:
- Blurred vision
- Double vision
- Eye pain or strain
- Frequent headaches, especially if they occur after reading or using a computer.
- Difficulty seeing in low light
- Sensitivity to light
- Dry or itchy eyes
- Seeing spots or flashes of light
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to schedule an appointment with an eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam to identify any potential eyesight problems.
How to keep your eyes healthy as you age
While some of these changes to our vision may be inevitable, there are steps we can take to help keep our eyes healthy as we age. Here are some tips:
Get regular eye exams
Regular eye exams are an essential part of maintaining good eye health. They can help detect age-related vision changes early on and allow for timely treatment. The American Optometric Association recommends adults get a comprehensive eye exam every two years, or more frequently if there are certain risk factors such as a family history of eye disease.
Protect your eyes from UV radiation
Exposure to UV radiation from the sun can increase the risk of cataracts and other eye conditions. Wearing sunglasses that provide 100% UV protection and a wide-brimmed hat can help protect your eyes from harmful rays.
Smoking is a risk factor for a number of eye conditions, including cataracts, AMD, and dry eye syndrome. Quitting smoking can help reduce your risk of developing these conditions and improve your overall health.
Eat a healthy diet
Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, particularly those high in antioxidants such as vitamin C and E, can help protect your eyes from age-related damage. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and nuts may also be beneficial for eye health.
Manage chronic conditions
Chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure can increase the risk of eye conditions such as diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma. Managing these conditions through diet, exercise, and medication as needed can help reduce the risk of vision loss.
Use a travel contact lens case
Proper storage of your contact lenses is essential for maintaining their safety and effectiveness. A travel contact lens case is a convenient way to store your lenses while on the go, whether traveling or simply out for the day.
A travel contact lens case is designed to hold your contact lenses and a travel-sized contact solution bottle. Some travel contact lens cases, such as Oplee™ Travel Contact Lens Case, even include a built-in mirror and storage for your eyeglass case.
It's important to note that you should never transfer contact solution from a large bottle to a smaller one. Doing so is not safe and could lead to an eye infection. So use a travel contact lens case that works with standard travel-sized (2 fl oz) contact solution bottles produced by most contact solution manufacturers.
If you are traveling by airplane, most countries restrict the amount of contact solution that can be in your carry-on. For example, in the United States, the TSA allows less than or equal to 3.4oz/100 ml in your carry-on.
Regular exercise can help maintain good blood circulation, which is important for eye health.
In conclusion, as we age, our vision undergoes several changes that can impact our daily lives. However, we can take steps to keep our eyes healthy and mitigate some of these negative effects. Regular eye exams, UV protection, healthy habits such as quitting smoking and eating a nutritious diet, and managing chronic conditions can all help maintain good eye health. Using a travel contact lens case and regular exercise are also beneficial practices. By following these tips and seeking timely medical attention for any warning signs of eyesight problems, we can ensure that our eyes stay healthy and functional as we age.