A lot changes as we get older, including our eyesight.
As we age, we should be vigilant in watching for signs of age-related vision loss, because early diagnosis is critical in preventing many sight-threatening conditions from progressing. We want our patients to be as informed as possible so that they can minimize their risks. We also want them to be prepared for the more benign ways their eyesight can change!
The Top Age-Related Vision Changes
Some of the most common changes we can experience with our vision as we get older include:
- Requiring more light to see. The older we get, we might begin to need more light to see clearly, so don’t be too surprised if you start needing additional work lamps and reading lights over time.
- This number is expected to decrease, but 80% of people over age 45 develop presbyopia. The lenses in their eyes become less flexible, making it increasingly difficult to focus on near objects or words on a page. Presbyopia is the reason many people need bifocals or transition lenses.
- Increasing sensitivity to glare. This is a problem especially while driving, and polarized lenses can help.
- Changes to color perception. As we get older, colors we see can yellow or dull somewhat.
- Reduced production of tears. We need tears to keep our eyes healthy and maintain clear vision, so dry eye can be a problem.
Sight-Threatening Conditions and Age
While all these changes can be frustrating to live with, even though we can correct presbyopia with reading glasses and we can use eye drops to treat dry eye, there are also a range of vision problems that become more common as we get older and are a much more serious threat to eyesight. These include diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma, and retinal detachment.
Medicine and technology have already come a long way in treating or slowing the progress of these eye conditions, and they will only continue to improve prognoses in the future. However, the earlier we can catch the warning signs, the better it is for the patient’s eyesight. This is why regular eye exams become increasingly important over the years.
Helping Your Vision Stay Healthy
Between those regular eye exams, there’s a lot we can do in our daily lives to safeguard our eyesight. Wear UV-blocking sunglasses outside (no matter what season it is), stay active, eat healthy foods, and avoid harmful habits like smoking. Following these tips will greatly reduce a lot of the risk factors for eye diseases, let alone improving your overall health!
Another good tip to follow for short-term vision benefits if you spend a lot of time looking at screens throughout the day is the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, give your eyes a break from the screen by focusing on something at least 20 feet away for about 20 seconds. This can help a lot with eye strain!
Our Goal Is Our Patients’ Lifelong Vision Health!
We can’t overstate the value of yearly eye exams, especially for patients over 40. How long has it been since your last eye exam? If you aren’t sure or if you know it’s been a while (and especially if you’ve noticed any changes in your vision), we’d love to see you.