Just as with any part of the body, our eyes require a bit more TLC as we age. Over time, you may notice that your vision becomes weaker or that it takes longer for your eyes to adjust to changes in light levels.
These are just a few common age-related eye issues that seniors may develop—most of which can be corrected with prescription eyeglasses or changing the light in your living spaces.
However, with age, we do become more at risk of developing serious eye issues and diseases. These may include
This condition occurs when cloudy areas develop in your eye(s), causing you to experience blurred vision. Cataracts can range in size, with some reducing your vision a little or more significantly. Surgery is often required to help restore your vision and is actually a very common procedure.
This condition is mainly caused when fluid pressure builds up in your eyes, leading to vision loss or even blindness. Attending your annual eye exams is the best way to test for this condition, as it doesn’t usually present any warning signs or symptoms.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
AMD is another common eye issue in older adults that affects their ability to see objects clearly, often distorting or blurring their vision. This condition harms your ability to drive and can make reading, playing golf, or watching a movie more difficult.
A detached retina occurs when its inner and outer layers separate from supporting tissue. This includes the layer of blood vessels that provide essential nutrients and oxygen to your eye: “Without a retina, the eye can’t communicate with the brain, making vision impossible,” (Cleveland Clinic).
Sudden flashes of light or dark spots are a few common symptoms of retinal detachment. You may also see a dark shadow in the corner of your eye.
This condition occurs when the arteries in the temple area of your forehead become inflamed, causing a severe headache, jaw pain when you chew, or even vision loss.
Seniors, particularly women, are prone to dry eye symptoms. This occurs when your tear glands, which are responsible for lubricating your eyes, are either unable to produce enough tears or the quality of tears is low.
When this happens, your eyes can take on a glassy or glazed look.
Can Eyesight Improve with Age?
Although changes to your eyesight are normal with age, they don’t have to impact your quality of life. In fact, there are many lifestyle choices you can adopt and maintain that may help improve your vision.
Let’s review a few.
Get Your Annual Eye Exams
Scheduling regular visits to your local optometrist can help you protect your eye health with preventive screenings and early interventions. Remember the earlier your healthcare team can detect an abnormality, the often less invasive and more successful the treatment will be.
Regularly seeing your optometrist will also ensure you’re wearing the correct eye lens prescription. This is key to ensuring your eyes stay healthy and your vision doesn’t worsen over time. For instance, if you’re still wearing an old prescription, your eyes may have to work harder to see clearly. This may lead to eye damage and other serious issues.
Choose the Right Nutrients
What you eat plays a big role in your wellness journey, and this includes your eye health. Certain macro-and-micro nutrients, for instance, can actually help improve eye health and vision, regardless of age:
“Researchers have linked eye-friendly nutrients, such as lutein and zeaxanthin, vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc, to reducing the risk of certain serious eye diseases like age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. You can find these antioxidants in green leafy vegetables, fruits, nuts and a lot of other foods.”American Optometric Association
Just as it’s essential to protect your skin from sun exposure, it’s equally important to protect your eyes, too! Wearing sunglasses not only helps shield your eyes from harmful UV rays that can damage or weaken your vision, but it can also block other elements, such as dust, pollen, and other particles from getting into your eyes and causing a reaction.
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