Aging eye problems are common. As we age, the eyes become more prone to deterioration, spots, floaters and dry eyes. Seniors face other conditions that cause ocular complications, too, including high blood pressure and diabetes.
Annual dilated exams are recommended for seniors over the age of 60.
Risks for common age-related eye conditions and diseases increase as we age. Even the ability to see in low light conditions is compromised, resulting in difficulty driving and potential trips and falls.
The five most common eye problems seniors face are:
Cataracts can be corrected through surgery and are caused by the normal aging process. More than 200,000 cases of cataracts are diagnosed per year in the United States. This is a chronic, lifelong condition that causes blurry vision.
A person with cataracts will have the feeling of looking through a fogged-up or frosty window.
Glaucoma is a progressive eye disease that occurs over time without symptoms. A person has a 1% risk of glaucoma, while an 80-year-old has a 12% chance of getting glaucoma. This condition is caused by a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve.
Vision loss and blindness can occur over time.
Early detection and treatment can help protect a person’s eyes from serious vision loss.
3. Dry Eyes
The National Eye Institute states that dry eyes are caused by the eye not producing tears properly. If tears evaporate too quickly or aren’t at the right consistency, a person’s eye surface becomes inflamed and worsens the problem.
If allowed to persist, ulcers, scars and pains can result.
Minor loss of vision can occur, too.
4. Age-related Macular Degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration is a disease, often abbreviated as AMD. This is a gradual disease that destroys the sharpness of a person’s central vision. Difficulty seeing objects clearly is the most prominent symptom of AMD.
Proper reading aids can help eliminate squinting when reading or difficulty driving.
Treatment can help this chronic disease, but it can’t be cured. Surgery may be an option, but a combination of minerals and vitamins is often provided to slow the progression of the disease.
5. Diabetic Retinopathy
Changes in the blood vessels of the retina cause diabetic retinopathy. This is the most common eye disease caused by diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness for American adults.
Changes in vision is the first sign of this condition.
If allowed to progress, loss of vision can occur. Both eyes can be affected. Proper blood sugar control allows the onset and progression of diabetic retinopathy to be slowed.
People over 60 can help prevent and slow many of the eye conditions discussed. The following preventative measures can help save your eyesight if you’re reaching or over 60:
- Reduce the risk of falling. Half of eye injuries occur at home. Protective eyewear can reduce the risk of injury. Falls causing eye injury can be eliminated with railings, rug removal and slip-proof mats.
- Exercise boosts blood flow. A lack of blood flow to the eye can cause damage. Exercise helps increase blood flow, allows enough blood to flow into the retina, reduces risk of diabetes and can help lower risks of diabetic retinopathy.
- Proper sleep lubricates the eyes. Sleep causes continuous lubrication of the eye. Proper sleep schedules allow the eyes to clear irritants and lubricates the eye to allow for better overall health.
Annual eye exams can help catch eye issues early, eliminating the risk of permanent eye damage and possible vision loss.