We often are asked by patients about what vision changes are normal at every age, and whether they should be concerned about age related eye problems or eye diseases commonly associated with older age. To help you out, here’s a breakdown of what to expect, along with some tips for what you can do to positively impact your eyesight and eye health as you age.
40s and 50s: Reading Vision Decreases
There’s a reason that reading glasses are especially popular with the 40+ crowd: your eyes’ lenses naturally harden as you pass this age, making it harder to view objects clearly close up. The official term for this is presbyopia, but it means that you’ll either need to hold objects a bit further from your face in order to see them well or may need to consider getting reading glasses (or multifocal lenses).
Other than this, there aren’t typically too many negative vision changes that are too common in your 40s and 50s. As long as you visit your eye doctor at least once per year, you should be able to stay in tune with your eye health and any changes in prescriptions or vision correction that you may need.
60s and beyond: Eye Problems can Increase
Once you enter your 60s, it’s very normal to start experiencing more issues related to eye diseases and conditions. The three that are most prevalent during this decade are glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration. Glaucoma is caused by elevated eye pressure and can slowly and often painlessly cause a permanent loss of vision. The sight loss it causes can be mitigated if your eye doctor catches this problem early.
Cataracts, conversely, often develop for people in this age group. Since cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in the world, it’s in your best interest to be seen by your doctor as soon as you suspect you may have one so you can decide if cataract surgery is right for you.
Finally, macular degeneration means that your retina has begun deteriorating. There’s not much that can be done to treat this eye disease, but it’s still best to discover it early by regularly scheduling eye exams.
Tips to Prevent Declining Vision and Eye Health
It’s been said that prevention is the best medicine, and this is very true when it comes to your eye health. Many age related eye problems can be staved off, if not prevented altogether, by practicing good health throughout your lifetime.
Here are some of the best tips we can give you to minimize vision changes as you age and to reduce the chances you’ll develop eye diseases later in life:
- Schedule an eye exam at least once per year, although more appointments may be necessary if you’re showing signs of any problems.
- If you notice any concerning symptoms, see your eye doctor immediately.
- Avoid smoking, and if you already smoke - quit! It’s imperative to your long-term eye health.
- Wear sunglasses daily that protect from harmful UV rays.
- Incorporate as many fruits and vegetables into your diet as possible, and exercise at least a few times a week. Eating a nutrient-dense diet and getting your blood pumping on a regular basis goes a long way in protecting your sight and eye health.
While it’s completely normal for vision changes to occur as you age, the changes don’t have to be all bad. Take steps today to take care of your eyes and your overall health, and you’ll be steps ahead in the decades to come. Contact us if you have any questions or to schedule an eye exam today.