As humans, our bodies are subject to change with age, and this change applies to our eyesight as well. Some of these changes are genetically acquired from our parents and ancestors, whereas other changes are due to lifestyle and environmental conditions. Smoking is one such lifestyle that is unhealthy for your eyesight.
Some of the eye conditions that can affect the aging eye include:
As we age, the lenses of our eyes may become rigid, and this makes it difficult to focus on close objects. This condition is called presbyopia, and is the major reason why most people between their 40’s – 50’s require reading glasses. It can be easily corrected with an eye surgery.
Inflammation caused by sun, wind, high blood pressure, stress and other factors, may cause the eye to produce fewer tears, thereby leading to dry eyes. With age you are likely to experience burning or stinging of eyes, which is all caused due to dry eyes.
If you are suffering from dry eyes, the eye doctor will prescribe artificial tears or night-time gels to counter the issue. Adding food items high in omega-3 fatty acids (salmon, flax seeds, tuna) to your diet can help prevent dry eyes.
Glaucoma is mostly hereditary and causes irreversible blindness by damaging the eye’s optic nerve. The main reason for glaucoma is the build-up of fluid at the front of the eye. This condition is dangerous as the symptoms may only show once the condition has progressed. Eye specialists recommend eye examinations, every two to three years after the age of 40 for early detection and treatment.
When detected early, glaucoma can be controlled with eye drops alone and in other cases laser and surgical treatment can help.
This is a common eye disease in older patients. With age, the eye’s natural lens may start to turn cloudy or discolored. This further, leads to a blurred, hazy vision. If you suffer from a cataract, you can go to an eye clinic and upon consultation have a simple surgical procedure done to correct your vision problems.
You can prevent cataracts by increasing the intake of vitamin-C food items and wearing protective gear like sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV rays and strong winds.
For people in their 70s or 80s, the eyelid skin may begin to droop over their eyelashes and this can impact their visual acuity. Eyelids beneath the eyes may also start to sag with age, both upper and lower lid sagging can be treated with surgery.
Maintaining Vision With Age
International institutions and eye hospitals have a set of guidelines for older patients.
Following are some of the tips to maintain healthy eyes with age:
- When going outdoors, make sure to wear sunglasses or wide-brimmed hats to block UV rays and other extraneous materials.
- Quit smoking as they increase the risk of developing eye diseases.
- Maintain a diet rich in leafy vegetables, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin-C to promote eye health.
- Exercise regularly and maintain optimal body weight.
- Treat or reduce high blood pressure as this can contribute to the development of eye diseases.
- Reduce screen time
Elderly patients are susceptible to a range of eye diseases, which can be treated conveniently if detected in advance. If you are above your 40’s, it is highly recommended to get regular eye check-ups. It is not advisable to wait for symptoms to show because at this point the eye disease may have progressed beyond repair. Early detection can aid in early recovery.