5 Eye Disorders to Watch for as You Age

Aging Eye Disorders

5 Eye Disorders to Watch for as You Age

There are many changes to experience as you age, and changes to eyesight can be one of the more distressing of these events. There are many eye disorders that we experience as we age, and while many are nothing to worry about, it is good practice to be familiar with potential changes and practice good eye health. Read on to learn about the signs and symptoms of 5 eye disorders that become more common as you grow older, as well as tips on how you can keep your eyes as healthy as possible as you age.

1. Presbyopia

Presbyopia is an eye disorder that affects people as they do close work such as sewing, knitting, reading, or computer work. Presbyopia often occurs as we age and our eye’s lens becomes stiffer, causing a greater difficulty in focusing and accommodation.  It makes focusing on near objects more difficult, since it increases the adjustment time for focusing from distant objects to near objects, as well as the reduced ability of the inner eye muscles to contract properly. You may notice you are having difficulty reading, that your eyes feel tired, or that you are experiencing eye focussing problems. Presbyopia commonly affects patients in the early 40’s and gradually changes with age. While there is no way to prevent it, presbyopia can be corrected with multi-focal lenses. To keep your eyesight as sharp as possible, it is important to see an eye doctor if you notice you are having difficulty seeing close objects.

2. Macular Degeneration

Macular Degeneration is often seen in patients over 50 but is more common in those over 65.  Women are at greater risk of developing macular degeneration than men, and the risk of developing macular degeneration is four-fold if a close family member has the disease.  Smokers are also three times more likely to develop macular degeneration than non-smokers.  Signs that you may be experiencing macular degeneration include a need for more light when reading, blurry vision, distortions in size and shape of objects, and diminished colour perception.  Macular degeneration can be treated, so if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, or have a family member who has macular degeneration, then it is important to see an optometrist. Regular visits to the optometrist can also help to catch any early signs of the disease developing.

3. Cataracts

A cataract is a clouding of the lens of the eye that impedes the ability to properly focus light onto the retina, resulting in a loss of vision.  It is most common in those over 55 but can also be present in younger populations.  Symptoms that indicate a cataract include blurry or foggy vision, progressive nearsightedness, changes in the way you see colour, and sensitivity to light.  Cataracts can also often be seen as a cloudy or foggy layer over the eye. Cataracts can be caused by genetics, trauma, disease, or other factors, and while they cannot be prevented they can be treated with surgery. To lower your risk of developing cataracts, wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV rays and avoid smoking.

4. Glaucoma

Glaucoma is an eye disease that is most often seen in those over the age of 50, but can be difficult to detect. Glaucoma is a disease that usually doesn’t present with symptoms until significant damage is present. The usual common symptoms after significant damage has taken place is blurry vision or loss of peripheral vision. However, angle-closure glaucoma on the other hand is a medical emergency, and is accompanied by blurry vision, pain around the eye, or sudden loss of vision. Glaucoma can develop as a primary cause or be due to other diseases that can lead to glaucoma such as diabetes. While glaucoma cannot be prevented, it is important to have eyes checked regularly to catch the signs of glaucoma so it can be treated early to prevent any permanent vision loss from occurring.

5. Retinal Detachment

A retinal detachment is an emergency in which the retina at the back of the eye pulls away from its normal position. Warning signs of a retinal detachment include seeing spots in vision (such as floaters or spider webs), seeing flashes of light, blurry vision, or sudden loss of vision. Retinal detachments are common in those over the age of 50, and the risk factors associated with it include a family history, extreme nearsightedness, previous surgery (such as cataract removal), eye injury, or eye disease. If you believe that you are experiencing a retinal detachment, it is important to see your eye doctor immediately to prevent permanent loss of vision. If caught in time, a retinal detachment can be treated with a great outcome that minimizes vision loss.

If this list has made you dread the aging process, do not fret! There are easy ways to keep your eyes as healthy as possible and to detect the early signs of eye deterioration. In order to keep eyes healthy, be sure to wear UV-blocking sunglasses outside—no matter the season. If you smoke, quit! Smoking can put you at higher risk of developing cataracts, macular degeneration, and other eye disorders. Staying active and eating healthy foods rich in vitamins can greatly reduce eye disease risk factors… not to mention the other benefits of a healthy lifestyle!

Finally, it is important that you keep up with your eye checkups based on your optometrist’s recommendations. A thorough eye exam is the only way to detect and diagnose eye disorders, and regular checkups will allow your doctor to detect early warning signs before they become a serious problem.

The optometry team at Dr D’Orio Eyecare can assist you with your vision needs. To book an appointment visit https://drdorioeyecare.com/book-appointment or call us at 416 656 2020 for our Toronto location, or 416 661 5555 for North York.

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