Vision changes are often the first sign you may notice as you get older. As you age, the lenses of your eyes become less elastic and cause you to lose the ability to focus on small print. The sharpness of your vision also decreases with age. Most people over 55 years of age need glasses to help them see. As you age, you run the risk of getting cataracts, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration so if you are experiencing any vision changes, you should see an eye doctor.
Vision loss as we age is very common. As you age, you lose focusing power that previously allowed you to see clearly for reading and close up work. This loss of focusing ability for near vision is call presbyopia. Presbyopia starts in your 40’s and becomes more advanced in your 50s and beyond and you may notice frequent changes in eyeglass and contact lens prescriptions. Once you hit 60 years of age the changes in vision can continue to worsen to the point where new glasses no longer help.
If you have any of the following symptoms, you may be experiencing early warning signs of a serious eye heath problem and should make an appointment to see an eye doctor as soon as possible.
- Fluctuating vision
- Floaters or flashers
- Loss of side vision
- Distorted images
There are many things that can contribute to vision changes.
- High blood pressure
- Family history of glaucoma or macular degeneration
- Visually demanding job or eye hazardous occupation
- Health conditions such as high cholesterol, thyroid conditions, anxiety, depression and medically treated arthritis
Treatment for vision changes can vary. Eyeglasses or contact lenses might be the first step of treatment, but low vision aids such as magnifying glasses, reading prisms and telescopic glasses may also be beneficial. More serious eye problems such as glaucoma and cataracts may require corrective surgery.
Good vision is key to enjoying your golden years. Taking the proper preventive actions will help ensure you can read medication bottles accurately and take the proper dosage, drive safely and reduce your risk of injury from trips and falls. To help protect your eyes and vision:
- Get a regular eye exam
- Wear sunglasses and a brimmed hat or visor when outdoors
- Don’t smoke
- Use adequate light indoors
- Use artificial tears or eyes when needed