How Our Eyes Change as We Age

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Posted on Saturday, June 12th, 2021 by Dr. Robert Mack
Eye exams in Hoffman Estates, IL

It’s no secret that aging takes a toll on our bodies, with our eyes being no exception. Over the years, our eyes will inevitably lose some of their functionality, and Mack Eye Center believes it is important that we know what changes are coming so we can better prepare and manage our expectations.

Age-related eye changes include:

Losing the Ability to See Close-Up Objects

Like it or not, just about all of us will have trouble with farsightedness as we advance in years. Many of us will start to notice this take effect in our 40s, but some will be lucky enough to have it come on later.

The culprit is presbyopia, a slow but steady loss in our ability to see things that are close to us. When we find ourselves squinting at a book, now we know what to blame.

Unfortunately, since presbyopia is a natural part of aging, there is not really anything we can do to prevent it. The good news, however, is that it’s easily solvable with reading glasses or adjusted vision prescriptions.

Shrinking Pupils

Though our eyes stop growing by our early 20s and remain the same size for the rest of our lives, the same cannot be said of our pupils. In fact, our pupils start to get smaller as the years progress. As a result, they don’t respond as well to light fluctuation, meaning that we have more difficulty seeing at night and then we need to turn on brighter lights to read.

Dryness

Tears aren’t just for crying. Every time we blink, the eyes produce tears that lubricate the eye and keep it clear.

Alas, after we hit senior citizen status, most of us — with women being especially susceptible — will experience a condition known as dry eye. What that means is our eyes are no longer able to produce a sufficient amount or quality of tears to keep everything operating properly.

Fortunately, most of us can manage our dry eyes with over-the-counter eyedrops, though some of us may require a more advanced prescription or a non-surgical in-office procedure to keep our eyes hydrated.

Other Serious Problems

Although a lot of us associate certain serious eye afflictions like cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration with aging, those are not conditions that we all will have to cope with. To be clear, each of these issues is more likely to pop up in our later years as the overall state of our health declines, but none are the certain inevitable result of aging. (Cataracts do cause visual impairment in about half of us who are blessed to make it to the age of 80.)

With that said, if one suspects that he or she is developing a more serious affliction, it is important to seek treatment from a professional rather than dismissing it as something that happens to everyone as they get older.

Discuss These Changes with the Experts

Just because eye changes are to be expected as we age does not mean we have to put up with subpar vision. Meet with the team at Mack Eye Center to determine how to keep your vision at its best no matter your age by calling 847-755-9393 for an appointment.

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