Vision problems in senior years are quite common but if these are not detected or treated at an early stage, the complications could lead to partial or complete visual impairment. However, age-related degeneration of vision
Vision problems in senior years are quite common but if these are not detected or treated at an early stage, the complications could lead to partial or complete visual impairment. However, age-related degeneration of vision can be controlled by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, taking preventive measures and going for regular follow ups. Visual impairment among aging seniors can take many forms and impact the ability to lead a normal life. Ophthalmologists at AMRI Hospitalssay, “Living with healthier eyes in your golden years is possible if you take proactive measures to achieve this goal.” Let’s look at some of the common eye problems faced by the elderly:
In young and healthy eyes, the lenses are clear and flexible. However, as we age, the lenses start losing flexibility and there is cloudy vision caused by cataracts.
Some common symptoms include pain, redness, tearing, double vision, faded colors, sensitivity to light, and blurry vision. A cataract may typically occur in the 40s or 50s but may not affect the vision until the person reaches the age of 60. Fortunately, cataracts can be easily treated through lens replacement surgery, especially the smaller ones, and does not affect eyesight. However, if left untreated, a cataract can cause serious effects, resulting in poor night vision, partial or complete blindness. In this condition, a patient’s lenses turn out to be less flexible and cloudy areas cover the entire lens inside the eye.
During cataract surgery, the surgeon will make a small incision to remove the natural lens and replace it with an artificial lens.
One of the leading eye diseases among adults, Glaucoma, is commonly referred to as “silent thief of sight.” In this condition, the optic nerve gets damaged due to excessive fluid collection, raising pressure, which can lead to permanent loss of vision and blindness, even without pain or early symptoms. Glaucoma specialists at AMRI Hospitals explained the underlyingcauses of the condition, including severe eye infection, injury to the eye, blocked blood vessels, inflammatory disorders, or an after effect of the corrective eye surgery. More often, Glaucoma is witnessed among people aged 60 or above.
- Diabetic Eye Disease (Diabetic retinopathy)
Diabetic retinopathy or diabetic eye disease is an eye condition that can impair vision and cause blindness in people suffering from diabetes. As the name indicates, the disorder affects blood vessels in the retina. Early stages of diabetes retinopathy don’t have any telling signs but later people may notice changes in vision such as difficulty reading or seeing faraway objects. Other signs of diabetic retinopathy include cloudiness of vision, blind spots, and floaters. As the disease advances, one might experience dark spots or empty areas in their sight or even loss of vision. In recent times, laser treatment can prevent complete blindness and early diagnosis can improve or save the vision. Patients should keep their blood sugar levels in check and have dilated eye examinations once a year.
- Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
The macula is the central portion of the retina, containing millions of nerve cells sensitive to light, which sends visual signals to the brain. Macula’s role is to provide detailed vision, including reading and facial recognition. AMD is the condition that diminishes its ability to see, read, or perform any visual tasks due to the advancing age. AMD signs include distorted color perception, blurry vision, distorted spots in the center, and loss of sight. In rare cases, it can cause total blindness too. However, it can be treated with medications, nutritional supplements, a diet rich in Zinc and Vitamin A. Also, a laser procedure helps in slowing the degeneration procedure.
AMD is also one of the genetic eye diseases that increases the person’s risk of developing in adulthood. Some other risk factors include high blood pressure, obesity, smoking, or a sedentary lifestyle.
- Dry Eye Syndrome
According to senior ophthalmologists at AMRI Hospitals, dry eye syndrome is when tear production starts declining after a certain age, or the eyes are unable to maintain a normal layer of tears to coat the eyes. Eyes may be prone to bacterial infections or the surface of your eyes may become inflamed causing damage to the cornea. Some common symptoms include burning or stinging sensation in the eyes, excessively watery eyes or blurred vision. After the age of 60, dry eyes syndrome become common in people, which can be cured with over-the-counter eye drops, medications, lid hygiene, and dietary changes, while in some severe cases, the doctor might suggest going for surgery.
With age, your eye checkups should be more comprehensive and include a detailed examination as the visual acuity score alone is not enough to identify age-related issues. Visit your ophthalmologist for a comprehensive eye examination to keep your eyes functioning at the optimum level.