Among the many changes our bodies undergo as we get older are the changes to our eyesight.
Early diagnosis is critical for stopping many sight-threatening conditions in their tracks, which is why we should be on the watch for signs of age-related vision loss. There are also more benign ways our eyesight can change over the years, and it’s important to know about those too!
The Main Age-Related Vision Changes
A few of the most common changes that can happen to our vision with age include:
- Changes to color perception: the older we get, the more colors may grow dull or yellowish.
- Reduced tear production: our eyes produce fewer tears as we age, which can result in symptoms of dry eye. We need tears to maintain clear vision and maintain eye health, so this can be quite an inconvenience.
- Requiring more light to see: we begin to need more light to see clearly as we get older.
- Presbyopia: the vast majority of adults over age 45 begin to struggle with close vision as the lens in their eyes become less flexible. This is why reading glasses, bifocals, and transition lenses are staples of the older decades.
- Increased sensitivity to glare: this can be a serious problem while driving, but wearing polarized lenses will block the glare.
More Serious Sight-Threatening Eye Conditions
Any of the above issues can be frustrating and inconvenient, even if there are ways to effectively address them, but there are several sight-threatening conditions for which age is a major risk factor:
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Macular degeneration
- Retinal detachment
Advances in medicine and technology have made it easier to treat or slow the progress of these conditions, and future innovations will only improve prognoses in the coming years. Early diagnosis is currently the best way to ensure a favorable prognosis, so make sure to keep up with your regular eye exams as you get older.
How to Help Your Eyes Stay Healthy
In addition to the regular eye exams, there’s a lot an individual can do to look after their eye health. No matter what season it is, wear UV-blocking sunglasses outside. Maintain an active lifestyle, which means regular exercise, a diet full of healthy foods, and avoiding harmful habits like smoking. Doing this will greatly reduce eye disease risk factors, and you’ll also get all the other benefits that come with a healthy lifestyle!
One more easy tip to follow that will help in the short term if you happen to spend a large portion of your day looking at screens is to follow the 20-20-20 rule. For every 20 minutes of screentime, take a little break to focus on something at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This will help combat the effects of eye strain.
Your Lifelong Vision Health Is Our Goal!
The importance of yearly eye exams — for patients over 40 in particular — cannot be overstated. If it’s been longer than that since we last saw you, now’s a great time to schedule your next appointment!