Watch your eye health as you age
Keep your eye on the ball and preserve your sight as you age, from Optometry Australia.
AFTER 40 it’s normal to experience changes to your vision.
Adults are also at a great risk of certain eye conditions.
Symptoms to look out for after 40:
Blurred text and the need to read the newspaper at arm’s length, or closer to your eyes to see clearer.
Poor concentration, eye strain, headaches or tiredness from reading or other close work.
Signs can include spots in your vision, sudden eye pain or redness, distorted and double vision and regularly bumping into or spilling things.
Five major eye conditions among the over 40s:
1. Presbyopia causes gradual loss of the ability to change the shape of the lens of our eye, to focus at normal reading distance. While presbyopia cannot be prevented, it can be easily treated by using correctly prescribed reading glasses or contact lenses.
2. Glaucoma causes progressive damage to the optic nerve cells, often due to pressure inside the eye, causing loss of peripheral vision. You may not know if you have glaucoma until irreversible damage has been done, so it must be treated early. It can also be hereditary.
3. AMD (age-related macular degeneration) causes the central retina to deteriorate, distorting central vision. Your chance of developing AMD is much higher if it runs in your family. While it cannot be cured completely, there is some treatment available which must be started early.
4. Cataracts are the clouding of the lens inside the eye, causing gradual loss of vision. Cataracts are very common and can be easily removed and replaced with a plastic lens via surgery.
5. Diabetic retinopathy – diabetes can start to affect the blood vessels at the back of your eye which can cause serious vision loss. Diabetic retinopathy should be detected and treated early and can require laser treatment.
Advice to over-40s from Optometry Australia:
Know your eyes. Be aware of the health of your eyes, and how your vision is affecting your everyday life, by learning the warning signs and looking for changes.
Have your eyes tested regularly by an optometrist. You may not know when you have a serious eye condition and after 40 your prescription is likely to change significantly. The earlier eye conditions are detected, the greater the chance of successful treatment and retaining your vision.
If you think you may have a problem with your eyes or vision, consult an optometrist immediately. Your optometrist can provide a comprehensive eye examination to detect, diagnose and treat eye health problems, and to prescribe glasses or contact lenses where required.
Vision at 60:
While aging affects the health of our eyes, poor eye health should not be accepted as a way of life. There are several predominant eye conditions to look out for from about 60 years of age.
You may not know you have a problem until serious, irreversible damage has been done.
Among the over 60s, vision problems can also increase the likelihood of other problems such as depression and falls. Some people avoid eye tests because they think there is nothing that can be done. However, regular eye tests can detect many conditions in their early stages.
Four major eye conditions among over-60s:
1. Glaucoma: damage to the optic nerve cells, often due to pressure inside the eye, causing loss of peripheral vision. Glaucoma may not always be self-detected and must be treated early to prevent progressive and irreversible damage.
2. Cataract: clouding of the lens inside the eye, usually the result of long-term UV exposure and aging, causing gradual loss of vision. Cataracts are very common and can be easily removed.
3. AMD (age-related macular degeneration): central retina deteriorates, distorting close vision. Your chance of developing AMD is much higher if it runs in your family. You may not realise you have it until your central vision is affected.
4. Diabetic retinopathy: diabetes can start to affect the blood vessels at the back of your eye which can cause serious vision loss. Diabetic retinopathy must be detected and treated early.