By : Marlena Stoddard
For seniors over 60, an annual eye exam should not be overlooked. There are many age-related vision problems that can occur. Many eye conditions progress slowly over time without symptoms, but can cause problems that range from mild discomfort to total blindness.
A common age-related vision problem for many people is Presbyopia. It often begins around age 40 with symptoms of blurred vision, headaches and eye fatigue from doing close-up work like reading or writing. Reading material must be held at arm’s length for clear vision. Presbyopia is not a disease, just a condition of aging. The eye loses the ability to focus objects at close range. Think of it like a wrinkle in the eye that needs to be repaired. Lasik surgery can easily correct Presbyopia, as well as other refractive vision problems, to improve vision and eliminate the use of bifocals or contacts.
Cataracts are one of the most common senior vision problems. They form when proteins in the lens of the eye clump together. The lens becomes cloudy and these cloudy areas are known as cataracts. Light can’t penetrate through the lens properly and vision is impaired. Cataracts can form slowly in the eyes without any tearing, redness or eye pain. They can remain small with no affect on eyesight or become large and thick usually requiring surgery. Symptoms include foggy or cloudy vision, glare sensitivity, double vision and changes in color vision. Prescription eyeglasses are used for cataracts that don’t impair vision. Surgery to remove the cataracts is necessary in more severe cases.
Glaucoma is a serious vision condition that damages the optic nerve. It often develops with no early symptoms or pain making it hard to diagnose. When the flow of fluid between the lens of the eye and the cornea is blocked, pressure builds up inside the eye. If it isn’t treated at an early stage, permanent vision loss can occur. If it’s left untreated, it can result it total blindness. Glaucoma is not caused by eye infections, injuries or old age. It’s a condition that can develop slowly and silently, so it’s important to have regular eye exams. Glaucoma treatments include various oral medications, prescription eye drops and Lasik surgery.
Macular degeneration, often referred to as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), is a major cause of blindness in seniors over 65. This condition is caused by the deterioration of the center of the retina, the macula, which makes vision possible. The macula lets light into the eye and sends it to the brain where images are created. In people with macular degeneration, deterioration in the eye causes the loss of sharp vision and objects become fuzzy or unclear. Everyday tasks like reading, writing and driving become a problem. Some milder forms of AMD can be treated with Lasik surgery and Hoopes laser vision correction technology.
If you think that your eyesight isn’t as good as it was, your ophthalmologist may be able to find a treatment that suites you and your lifestyle.