5 Common age-related eye problems
Crystal clear vision is something we typically associate with youth and expect to fade away as the years go by.
And whereas it is true that the eyes go through the natural ageing process and do degrade, like any other part of the body, this doesn’t mean you can’t retain a clear and youthful view of the world.
Retaining your vision as you age isn’t something that is completely out of your control. There are certain conditions you may be more likely to experience than others, and some things are simply unavoidable—for instance, everyone who lives long enough will experience presbyopia.
However, the more you are aware of the conditions that can affect your eyes, the more you can take good care of your optical and general health and prevent them from robbing you of your vision.
Prevention is the best medicine. And with that in mind, here are five common age-related eye conditions to look out for as you get older:
Dry eye is a common condition that can affect anyone at any age. However, your chances of suffering from it become a lot greater as you get older.
Dry eye occurs when the oil-producing glands in your eyelids are not functioning as well as they should. The result is your eye doesn’t produce enough tears, which are needed to lubricate the surface of the eye and protect it from infection.
Symptoms of dry eye include redness and a burning or gritty sensation. As of yet, there is no magic cure for the condition. The best you can do is to minimise the activities and factors that make it worse, such as air conditioning and looking at a screen for long periods, and increase the measures you take to manage it, such as using artificial tears and practising the 20/20/20 method.
Including those who are undiagnosed, there are an estimated four million people, or around six percent of the population, in the UK living with diabetes.
Diabetic retinopathy, when the blood vessels at the back of the eye are damaged, affects up to eighty percent of people who have diabetes over the long term. This is why it is such a common eye condition as you age.
The condition is particularly concerning as it can lead to blindness. The earliest signs of diabetic retinopathy are often unnoticeable. However, they can be picked up by an eye care professional during a routine eye exam.
It is estimated that around 600,000 people in the UK are affected by age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a figure that is estimated to double by 2050.
The condition occurs when the macular, the small central portion just in front of your retina at the back of the eye, wears down, causing a distortion of your central vision.
This is often noticed due to a difficulty in seeing the details of faces, or when straight edges of doors or windows begin looking wavy or irregular. There is currently no cure for AMD, however, there are treatments you can use to slow down the loss of vision associated with it.
Cataract surgery is commonly performed to treat the condition, with around 330,000 operations performed every year in England alone. It’s a very quick and effective procedure, typically taking thirty minutes or less, and it can help people retain clear vision for many more years.
Common symptoms of cataracts include a clouding of the white part of the eye, which is visible from the outside, along with blurry vision, changes in the way you see colour, and problems with glare and night vision.
If you recognise any of these symptoms, the best course of action is to visit your eye doctor. The sooner cataracts are picked up, the higher the likelihood is of receiving treatment and retaining a greater amount of your vision.
Presbyopia is the loss of near focusing ability that everyone will experience, providing you live long enough, as they age.
Most people typically begin the notice the effects of presbyopia in their mid-forties, when it becomes more difficult to read the paper or text messages without holding them out at arm’s length.
Even if your vision has been perfectly fine for most of your life, there’s no escaping presbyopia. Luckily, today there is a solution that doesn’t involve either reading glasses or contact lenses.
Pioneered by Professor Dan Reinstein, PRESBYOND Laser Blended Vision is an innovative procedure that can significantly reduce, or even eliminate, the need for reading glasses, bifocals, or varifocals for many years.
To find out more about Laser Eye Surgery for ageing eyes or to book your consultation, leave us a comment or get in touch with one of our friendly clinic coordinators today.