If there is one part of our bodies that is guaranteed to worsen as we age it is our eyes. Few people are lucky enough to have perfect vision, so that it is not uncommon for every age group to have to wear corrective lenses, but there are some eye problems that become commonplace for those in the 50+ age group.
Common eye problems
Two of the most common problems particularly affecting those aged 50 and above are glaucoma and cataracts. Glaucoma is a condition that develops when there is too much pressure, caused by fluid, occurring inside the eye. This pressure builds up because there is an obstruction between the cornea and the eye’s lens and the flow of liquid is impeded. If left untreated, glaucoma can ultimately lead to permanent blindness. It is common for a majority of people not to suffer any discomfort, impaired vision or pain when they have developed glaucoma, so often the only way of catching it is to have regular eye checkups.
Cataracts are visible to the naked eye because they form a milky or cloudy film over the lens. In order to function properly, eyes need light, so a cataract impairs vision by preventing light from hitting the retina. Although unsightly, cataracts rarely cause pain or affect the eye in other ways, such as causing redness or excess tear production. Some cataracts are small and do not significantly impair vision, but others are large and need to be removed by means of an operation such as that performed using LASIK eye surgery in Dallas, Texas.
A more common eye problem in this age group is presbyopia, or a difficulty in reading text or seeing objects that are near. Presbyopia occurs gradually and goes mostly unnoticed until people reach the age of 40 and is easily corrected by wearing reading glasses, sometimes in addition to existing prescription spectacles. Floaters, tiny dark spots or specks that float across our vision, are common and usually harmless, but can be indicative of a more serious problem, especially if the floaters occur alongside flashes of light, as this can suggest retinal detachment.
A condition that is becoming far more talked about due to people living longer is age-related macular degeneration or AMD. The ageing process affects the retina so that it no longer functions as well as it used to and fails to send visual signals to the brain. This means that vision becomes significantly impaired, especially in the center of the lens. Dry macular degeneration is a long and gradual process but wet macular degeneration comes on quickly and demands urgent medical treatment.
The key to preventing some of these conditions, but at the very least treating them, is to have regular eye checks with a qualified optometrist. This is also useful for keeping a check on the rest of your body’s health, as an eye test can also pick up potential problems such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
Nothing can be done about getting older, but you can ensure a better quality of life for yourself by having your eyes regularly checked to maintain good eye health.