Over 60? Look for these Vision Changes - Smart Vision Labs

As we get older, our eyes also age, but you can safeguard your vision by looking for negative changes. While aging is inevitable, a loss of vision can often be halted. Many eye health problems have warning signs that will alert you to potential problems and allow you to take the necessary steps to correct them.

Presbyopia

Although the name might sound scary, this is a harmless condition that affects about 1 in 11 Americans over the age of 60. Basically, it’s a decreased ability of the eyes to focus on close objects. This is a normal result of aging, as the lenses inside your eyes harden. When your eyes lose some of this flexibility, the lenses can no longer change shape to focus on objects that are close to you.

You may try to compensate by holding reading material farther away from your eyes, but this isn’t the best solution. A vision exam and corrective eyeglasses can help to improve this condition. You may do well with reading glasses or multifocal eyeglasses if your distance vision is affected by other vision issues.

Pupils Don’t React as Well

The pupils lose some of their ability to change shape as we age. Pupils are the center openings which allow light into the eyes. The pupils will react to high or low levels of light by becoming smaller or larger. After 60, they do not react as quickly to changes, which mean you might need more light to read or have problems driving at night.

The good news is that there are photochromic lenses and anti-reflective coatings for eyeglasses that can significantly minimize this normal part of the aging process.

Dry Eye

Dry eye is a result of the natural aging process, but it can negatively affect your vision if not treated. If your eyes are not producing enough tears or if the tears do not have the proper chemical composition, you may have an uncomfortable feeling in your eyes. They may be red, itchy, or your vision may be blurred.

This dryness can lead to damage of the eye tissue or scarring of the cornea, and both of these conditions can lead to impaired vision. Although dry eye cannot be cured, it can be successfully treated. Regular vision exams can help diagnose this problem and if treatment is started early, the problems associated with dry eye can be reduced or eliminated.

Cataracts

The lenses in the eyes are composed of water and protein, but as you age, some of the protein clumps together. This forms a cloud on the lens which can get larger and impair vision. While no one knows exactly why cataracts form, there are certain medical conditions that seem to contribute to their development.

If you have high blood pressure, are overweight, smoke, or have diabetes, you may be prone to cataract formation. On the positive side, some studies have shown that a diet high in fruits and vegetables may prevent certain types of cataracts.

Even though we will all age and our bodies will change, there are always steps to take to limit the negative effects to our eyes. Regular vision exams and a proactive approach to eye health are the best ways to maintain optimal eyesight.

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