Caring for Our Eye Health As We Age
Our eyesight, among many other things, tends to change as we get older.
For any serious changes, it’s critical to get an early diagnosis. Many sight-threatening conditions that are associated with advancing age are combatted best by being discovered in the early stages. That’s the biggest we encourage more frequent eye exams for older patients, but our eyesight also changes in more benign ways as we get older, and those can be quite an adjustment too.
Common Age-Related Vision Changes
Some of the most common changes to vision that come with age include:
- Dulled color perception: as we get older, the colors we see can become dull or yellowish.
- Less tear production: our eyes don’t produce the same amount of tears when we’re older, which can lead to dry eye symptoms. Our tears help us maintain eye health and clear vision, so this can be a serious inconvenience.
- Needing more light to see: we start needing more light to see clearly.
- Presbyopia: most adults over age 45 begin to need reading glasses, bifocals, or transition lenses because the lenses in their eyes are becoming less flexible, making it harder to focus on close objects.
- Increased glare sensitivity: glare can become more bothersome with age, which is a big problem while driving. Polarized lenses help by eliminating glare.
Sight-Threatening Eye Conditions Associated With Age
As frustrating and inconvenient as all of these smaller issues can be, the biggest concerns are the sight-threatening conditions that are often associated with age. These conditions include:
- Retinal detachment
- Macular degeneration
- Diabetic retinopathy
Some of these conditions are not reversible, but as medicine and technology have advanced, they have become easier to treat or slow down, and more innovations will continue to improve their prognoses in the coming years. Early diagnosis is the most important tool we have, and that’s why regular eye exams are so critical.
Keeping Your Eyes Healthy
Beyond regular eye exams, there is a lot we can all do at home to look after our eye health. UV-blocking sunglasses are a fantastic preventative measure whenever we’re out in the sun, no matter what time of year it is. If we maintain an active lifestyle with regular exercise, a diet full of nutritious foods, and avoiding dangerous habits like smoking, we can greatly reduce our eye disease risk factors while also getting all the other benefits of healthy living!
Another easy tip to reduce short-term discomfort if you tend to spend a lot of your day looking at screens for work (or fun) is to follow the 20-20-20 rule. It’s simple: after every 20 minutes of screentime, take a 20-second break looking at something at least 20 feet away. This will help minimize the effects of eye strain.
Our Goal Is Your Lifelong Vision Health!
We cannot overstate the importance of yearly eye exams. If it’s been longer than a year since we saw you and you’re over the age of 40, now would be an excellent time to schedule an appointment at our office!