The natural aging process affects the body in various ways and the eyes are no exception. It is normal that as you get older, you experience changes in your vision. Although many of these changes are benign, others can be symptoms of a more serious eye condition. For this reason, it is important for older adults to stay on top of their eye health and regularly get their eyes checked. In this blog post, the vision experts at Mack Eye Center discuss common age-related vision changes and conditions and how they can be treated.
Starting around age 40, you may notice that it is harder to focus on objects that are up close. This loss of near vision is called presbyopia, and it is caused by the hardening of the lens inside the eye. Presbyopia can be easily managed with prescription reading glasses and contact lenses.
Approximately 50 percent of all adults age 65 and older have cataracts or have had them surgically removed. Characterized by the clouding of the eye’s natural lens, cataracts can create blurry vision. As they worsen, cataracts can make everyday activities difficult and ultimately lead to blindness if left untreated. The only way to remove a cataract is to have them surgically removed. Cataract surgery is a safe procedure that involves removing the eye’s clouded lens and replacing it with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL) to restore crisp, clear vision.
As you age, the size of your visual field decreases. It is estimated that you lose approximately one to three degrees of your visual field every 10 years, and ultimately lose up to 20 to 30 degrees of your peripheral vision by the time you reach your 70s or 80s. Loss of peripheral vision can affect everyday life, including increasing the risk of car accidents. Older adults are advised to use more precaution when driving, including turning their head and looking both ways when approaching intersections in order to increase their range of vision.
Vitreous detachment occurs when the gel-like vitreous inside the inner portion of the eye separates from the retina. Common symptoms of vitreous detachments are eye floaters (tiny spots and cob-web like specks that drift around in your field of vision) and flashes of light. Vitreous detachment is typically harmless. However, it can also be a sign of a detached retina, a serious condition that can lead to blindness if not treated promptly. If you experience a sudden increase in floaters and flashes of light, see your eye doctor immediately to determine the cause.
To learn more about age-related vision changes or to schedule a routine eye exam, please contact Mack Eye Center.