Your Eyes As You Age
Beginning in the early to mid-40s, many adults may start to have issues seeing clearly, especially when reading and working on a digital device. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, adults develop this typical problem between 41 to 60. This average change in the eye’s focusing ability, called presbyopia, will continue to progress over time. Fortunately, people with presbyopia have many options to improve their vision.
Many adults in this age group may need to hold reading materials farther away to see them. Seeing the print in your favorite book or reviewing a restaurant menu may appear blurred, especially under dim lighting.
As we age, it is critical to prioritize your eye health and schedule an eye exam with your eye doctor to check for developing eye and vision problems. Don’t delay seeing your eye doctor because you may not have any issues. Be proactive; your eyes will love you for it!
Who Is at Risk for Developing Eye Problems?
Adults over 40 who have the following health concerns may be particularly at risk for developing eye and vision problems:
- Chronic, systemic conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure
- A family history of glaucoma or macular degeneration
- For health conditions related to high cholesterol, thyroid, anxiety, or arthritis for which medications are taken, many of these conditions’ medicines have vision side effects.
Understanding Age-Related Eye Issues
Just like our bodies, our eyes and vision change over time. Not everyone will experience the same symptoms, but here are a few common changes that happen with your eyes as you age:
- Having difficulty reading and doing close work. Printed materials can become less clear because the lens in your eye becomes less flexible over time. The result makes it harder for your eyes to focus on near objects than when you were younger.
- Brighter light is needed. You may need more light to see than you used to as you age. Brighter lights in your work or reading area will make tasks easier.
- Problems with a glare. When driving, you may notice more glare from headlights at night. During the day, the sun reflecting off windshields or pavement can seem more brilliant. Changes in your eyesight cause light entering the eye to be scattered rather than focused precisely on the retina; this creates more glare.
- Reduced tear production. The tear glands in your eyes will produce fewer tears as you age, which may result in your eyes feeling dry and irritated. Having a satisfactory amount of tears is essential for keeping your eyes healthy and maintaining clear sight.
- Seeing colors does not look the same. The clear lens located inside your eye may start to discolor. The discoloration makes it harder to see and distinguish between certain color shades.
Your Eye Health Matters
A healthy diet and wise lifestyle choices, such as not smoking, are your best defenses against your eye health as you age. Make your eye health a priority, and schedule an eye exam. During your appointment, discuss all your concerns about your eyes and vision with your eye doctor. Also, it is imperative to tell your eye doctor about any history of eye problems in your family and what medications you are taking, including non-prescription medicines, vitamins, or herbs. This information will help your eye doctor give appropriate recommendations to keep your eyes healthy.