One in six Americans age 65 and older have a vision impairment that cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses. The risk of eye disease increases with age, yet many older adults neglect to see an ophthalmologist for care.
To bring attention to taking care of our eyes as we age, the American Academy of Ophthalmology celebrates Healthy Aging Month to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of vision loss – and steps to help seniors take care of their sight.
Visiting your eye care professional for a comprehensive eye exam is the most important thing you can do to reduce your risk of vision loss as you age. Although your vision may seem fine, age-related eye diseases often have no symptoms.
A comprehensive dilated eye exam is key and not the same as a basic eye exam. By dilating the pupils and examining the back of the eyes, you can detect eye diseases in their early stages, before vision loss occurs.
Below are common age-related eye diseases:
Presbyopia is a normal part of aging that becomes more apparent as people approach their 40s and 50s. As the human body ages, the lens inside the eye grows like rings on a tree. It loses its elasticity, and therefore its ability to easily change focus, making it more difficult to read smaller print.
Cataracts are one of the leading causes of visual loss in adults 55 and older.
Your eye works a lot like a camera, using a lens to focus on an image. If your camera lens became cloudy, you’d have a hard time viewing the world around you. Just like a camera, the lenses in your eyes can become cloudy as you age, making it harder for you to see.
Dry Eye is a cornea disease that results from the eye’s reduced ability to produce tears.
Types of Dry Eye:
- Aqueous tear-deficient dry eye is a disorder in which the lacrimal glands fail to produce enough of the watery component of tears to maintain a healthy eye surface.
- Inflammation of the meibomian glands. These glands make the lipid part of tears that slows evaporation and keeps the tears stable.
Age Related Macular Degeneration is a common eye condition and a leading cause of vision loss among people age 50 and older. It causes damage to the macula, a small spot near the center of the retina.
Glaucoma– Your odds of developing glaucoma increase as you get older. About 1 in 20 adults 65 and older develop glaucoma. Glaucoma is a disease that damages your eye’s optic nerve. It usually happens when fluid builds up in the front part of your eye. That extra fluid increases the pressure in your eye, damaging the optic nerve.
Make sure you get a comprehensive eye exam this year. Your eye doctor does so more than just figure out your prescription for eyeglasses. For more information on eye diseases or to schedule an appointment call 843-449-6414 or visit GRIFFINEYECENTER.COM.