Age-related vision changes and treatments

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Age-related decline in eyesight is common among people in their 60s or older. Some eye problems such as presbyopia and cataracts are quite normal. Nearly all individuals will experience one or several of related eye problems as the body continues to age. Slightly different, more serious age-related eye diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy affect only a portion of elderly people. But these conditions cause really severe vision deterioration and even vision loss.

Presbyopia and available remedies

Presbyopia is to some content inevitable in people over 40 years old, and it usually causes patients to be difficult in managing up-close tasks. As people grow older, presbyopia also advances. As presbyopia develops, people may be forced to keep more than one pair of reading glasses or change glasses with a higher prescription. Without a surgical treatment, this ocular defect will continue to deteriorate. Until now, solutions to presbyopia include reading glasses, multifocal contact lenses or eyeglasses, monovision LASIK and conductive keratoplasty (CK).

Cataract and cataract surgery

Today, about a half of all 65-year-old Americans suffers certain degrees of cataracts. And it is estimated that the number of cataract patients in the U.S. will reach 30 million by 2020. There are so large a number of cataracts cases that this eye disease has been considered as a normal aging change. Lots of patients just endure the blurry eyesight during daily lives after they have recognized its commonness. Now, cataract surgery is the most widely applied treatment, which surgically removes cloudy cataracts on the lens. Multifocal lens implants during a cataract surgery can restore vision at all distances.

Macular degeneration, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy

Common age-related eye diseases include macular degeneration, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. Age-related macular degeneration has been the leading cause of blindness among American seniors. People in their 80s develop glaucoma at a 12 percentage. The National Eye Institute estimates that 40% of the 10.2 million of diagnosed diabetic patients have some degrees of diabetic retinopathy.

Organic changes to the eye as the body ages

Natural aging involves various subtle changes in eyesight and ocular functions and elements, including pupil size, tears production, peripheral and color vision, vitreous and so on. In general, the whole eye will gradually lose some extent of elasticity along with the body’s aging process. And related eye parts like cornea, cornea and iris will experience functional deterioration.

Smaller pupils and few tears

The pupil becomes smaller and less responsive to changes in ambient lighting as people age. As a result, older individuals always need more ambient light for comfortable reading. They may get help from photochromic lenses or lenses with anti-reflective coatings. Aging also makes the eyes generate fewer tears, especially in women after menopause. Artificial tears can be prescribed to ease symptoms such as burning and stinging resulted from dry eye.

Peripheral vision loss, poor color perception and vitreous detachment

Old people also suffer peripheral vision loss, which is quite harmful during driving. Senior motorists need more attention while approaching an intersection. Color vision and color sensitivity declines are also quite common in old people, which results from the aging of related retinal cells that are responsible for color perception. Unfortunately, there is no effective treatment for decreased color vision. In addition, aging may bring vitreous detachment, resulting in spots and floaters as well as flashes in the visual field. These symptoms may signify the presence of retinal detachment that is likely to cause blindness.

Some factors associated with treatment

Treatments for age-related vision changes involve some other factors. Eye exams from professional optometrists or ophthalmologists are important for detecting vision problems at an early stage. And old people should tell their doctors about family history of eye problems or diseases, currently administered medications and other conditions that may be associated with vision health. Eye health also requires a healthy diet and smoking quitting.