When people reach 40 years of age, they may expect a change in their vision and experience various eye problems connected with aging. A condition called presbyopia is the most common vision problem encountered by senior people. Another age-related vision problem results due to cataract-formation that can be corrected through cataract surgery. Glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy are also connected with aging and these are diseases of concern.
Aged people often find it difficult to focus sharply on closer objects. The inability to focus normally is called presbyopia that is caused when the eye’s lens becomes harder. Initially, one can correctly focus on the object by holding it a little far. But gradually, their vision becomes so blurred that Monovision LASIK or Conductive Keratoplasty (CK) may be recommended. If a patient can’t have surgery, reading glasses or multifocal contact lenses are viable options. Colored contact lenses that address blurry vision are also available.
Age-related macular degeneration or AMD is a serious eye-illness that may lead to blindness among people older than 65 years of age. As the name implies, the macula (part of the retina) which is responsible for a sharp vision degenerates causing AMD. Around 1.75 million of Americans experience advanced AMD which is largely associated with blindness.
Though there is no cure for macular degeneration, there exist certain treatments that can provide a comparatively better vision. Lucentis is a FDA approved drug that is known to bring an improvement in the vision in macular degeneration patients. Regular intake of foods rich in zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin and vitamins A, C and E will greatly help in reducing the risk of macular degeneration.
Glaucoma is often referred as “silent thief of sight,” because in most cases, glaucoma hits the patients suddenly without any prior symptoms. The disease progresses with the patients being unaware of it, until a considerable damage occurs to the optic nerve. The treatment varies according to the severity of glaucoma and it includes glaucoma surgery, lasers or medication.
Cataracts are prevalent among seniors. A rough estimate has shown that, by 2020, there will be more than 30 million Americans who have cataracts. However, science has made it possible for 100% restoration of vision by means of modern cataract surgery that is safer too. In the surgery, the clouded lens of the eye is replaced by clear, plastic intraocular lens. The advanced multifocal lens implants have eliminated the necessity to wear reading glasses or distance glasses after cataract surgery. In cases wherein an intraocular lens (IOL) is not implanted after a cataract surgery, a patient may wear moist weekly contact lenses to correct vision.
It is advisable to have regular eye check-ups after the age of 40. Any minor change in vision must be treated earlier. A healthy diet and good lifestyle practices are the best choices for avoiding vision problems as one gets older.