Changes To Your Vision As You Age – What’s Normal?
It’s no secret that your vision changes as you age. However, many people experience this shift in eyesight gradually. Therefore, it’s hard to distinguish between what are normal, age-related changes and when those changes are pathologic.
When it’s the latter, you certainly want an eye surgeon to evaluate you, because it could be a myriad of treatable or irreversible processes that may be hampering your quality of life. Below are three of the most common conditions as you age: Cataract, Glaucoma, and Dry Eye Syndrome.
Cataract is a medical condition in which the lens of the eye becomes cloudy. This causes blurry vision, glare and fear of accidents and falls because of one’s vision. Having a cataract is a normal part of growing older. However, it can be treated.
If you have trouble engaging in your favorite activities as a result of decreased vision or have trouble doing everyday tasks, surgery is a good option. The recovery period for cataract surgery is relatively short. Most patients see clearly within a few days after the 10-minute surgery. With the advanced technology available today, the risks for complications are very low, and patient satisfaction is at an all-time high. If you are interested in cataract surgery, start a dialogue with your eye doctor about how your vision is affecting your daily life. Then, he or she can determine whether this procedure will help you.
If you’ve been experiencing a gradual loss of sight, you could have glaucoma. Glaucoma is a disease that affects the cable that carries messages from the eye to the brain. This can be a result of poor blood flow, unique anatomy, genetic risk factors or eye pressure that is higher than what the eye can tolerate. So glaucoma is a risk for people of all ages and it’s the leading cause of irreversible blindness.
Steps can be taken to halt the progression of vision loss. For example, using eye drops, receiving laser surgery, or sometimes large filtering surgeries when less invasive methods are not working. If you have a family history of glaucoma, it is important that you get an eye exam. Glaucoma is generally a painless condition, so if your vision loss is from glaucoma, the condition may have progressed severely. If you believe you are at risk, visit an eye doctor. As a result, you can make sure you do not have glaucoma and are not at future risk.
Dry Eye Syndrome
Tearing, red eye, decreased vision and the sensation of having a foreign body in your eye are indicators of dry eye. The inability for the body to produce enough tears to protect the surface of the eye, or when your eye is unable to hold on to the tears that it makes, causes dry eye. Tears are crucial for nourishing the eye and keeping the front part of your eye in optimal condition. There are several factors that can make you more susceptible to dry eye. These include age, gender, eyelid conditions, poor makeup removal technique, or staring at a screen for long periods of time.
If you believe you may be suffering from dry eye, the first step would be to receive a comprehensive eye exam. There are many steps you can take to lubricate the eye if diagnosed. Some of these options include the use of preservative- free artificial tears, blocking the tear ducts with small silicone inserts, surgically closing them to conserve natural tears, and/or taking an omega-3 supplement to improve the ocular surface.
In conclusion, if you think you may be at risk or suffering from any of these conditions, visit an ophthalmologist. You can then discuss the vision problems you are experiencing and whether it’s time to consider surgery or other alternatives.