Advancing into your golden years can bring some health changes into your life. One thing that seniors often find themselves navigating is age-related changes to their vision. If you know what senior eye problems to look out for, you’ll learn how to get the help you need before those problems severely affect your life.
Senior Eye Problems to Look Out For
As you age, keeping up with your health becomes more critical. That’s because age-related health changes are extremely common, and if you can catch them early, you can make a plan for how to deal with them. For example, many common senior eye problems can be treated effectively with early medical intervention. So, what senior eye problems should you be aware of, and what can you do about them?
Presbyopia, or age-related nearsightedness, is one of the most common senior eye problems. As the eye ages, it becomes harder for your lenses to focus, making reading smaller print or perceiving close-up objects challenging. You can’t altogether avoid it, but you can fix the issue with reading glasses or a pair of bifocals.
Have you ever seen someone who had cloudy or milky-looking pupils? If so, they probably had cataracts. Cataracts are cloudy white areas that build up on the lens of the eye, which can block light from reaching the optic nerves. Cataracts don’t cause pain or other symptoms while they are forming, so seniors are often unaware of them until they begin to interfere with their vision. Some cataracts are small enough not to affect eyesight significantly. However, a large cataract can cause partial blindness. Luckily, cataract surgery is safe, common, and highly effective.
Glaucoma occurs when pressure builds up inside the eye for various reasons, usually related to age or heredity. Sometimes medical conditions also cause glaucoma as a side effect, such as diabetes. This pressure can damage the optic nerve inside the eye, leading to blurry vision and even blindness if not treated in time. Since glaucoma often does not have noticeable symptoms before it damages the optic nerve, seniors must see their optometrists and be screened for it regularly.
Have you noticed that your eyes have become more easily irritated as you grow older? As we age, our tear ducts can become less proficient at their jobs. As a result, our eyes sometimes do not have enough tears to keep themselves hydrated. Red eyes, itchy eyes, or overly-sensitive eyes can all indicate that more eye moisture is needed. A humidifier and some eye drops can often resolve the issue, but your healthcare provider can help you explore other options if those things don’t do the trick.
Floaters and Flashers
“Floaters” refer to the specks we sometimes see on the edge of our vision. Floaters on their own are not necessarily indicative of a vision problem. However, if light flashes accompany them, they may be a warning sign for a more serious retinal issue. If you notice an increase in the number of floaters in your vision or if light flashes accompany them, talk to an eye care professional immediately.
Staying on top of your eye health is essential for seniors who want to stay healthy and independent. If you’re concerned that you may have any of these conditions, ask your doctor about them at your next appointment.
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