Adult Vision Concerns
Vision problems are often one of the first indications that we’re not as young as we feel.
Even people who’ve never needed glasses or contacts may start to experience blurry vision or other noticeable imperfections. Many of these developments, such as difficulty seeing nearby objects, are a normal part of aging and can be easily treated.
However, serious eye conditions become more likely in middle-age and beyond. That’s why it’s important that men and women take vision health seriously, as catching glaucoma or cataracts in the early stages can lead to more effective treatment.
Common Vision Concerns by Age
Adult Vision Problems
Our eyes are remarkably resilient, but decades of use do take a toll. There are a variety of vision concerns that can affect adults and seniors, including:
Also known as age-related farsightedness, presbyopia makes it difficult to focus on objects at close range, such as books or screens. You might notice that small copy becomes a blur, and things only come back into sharp relief when you hold the book away from your face.
Presbyopia and hyperopia have a similar effect on our vision, but for slightly different reasons. Presbyopia is the result of reduced flexibility in our lenses, which cannot bend light to the correct focal point. Hyperopia is caused by a misshapen eye or lens. When the focal point falls beyond the retina, we lose the ability to focus on nearby objects.
Presbyopia is usually easy to correct with glasses or contact lenses.
Our eyes are filled with fluid. Any excess liquid travels out through a small opening known as the drainage angle. If this becomes blocked, fluid cannot escape and internal eye pressure builds. Pressure can damage the optic nerve responsible for transmitting signals from the retina to the brain. Left untreated, glaucoma can cause permanent blindness.
There are several types of glaucoma, and most people won’t experience pain until the condition has become extremely dangerous. It’s important to see your eye doctor each year so they can spot any warning signs.
Optometrists have a variety of ways to screen for glaucoma, including the infamous “puff-of-air” test. They may also dilate your pupils to get a better look at the optic nerve and drainage angle.
There are several treatment options your eye doctor will consider if you’re found to be suffering from glaucoma. These include eye drops, medication, laser surgery, or conventional surgery. The best course of action depends upon the particulars of your case and how you respond to treatment.
Perhaps no other vision condition is as closely associated with aging as cataracts. People with cataracts often complain of cloudy vision, sensitivity to light, washed-out colors, or other deteriorations in the quality of their eyesight. Cataracts are caused by a breakdown of proteins and tissues within the lens of the eye. These substances block or scatter light on its way to the retina. The result is a muddled view of the world.
There’s good and bad news about treating cataracts. Surgery is the only viable option for clearing your vision. However, cataracts do not normally harm the eye. For this reason, some people delay surgery until the cataracts become too annoying to tolerate. This is a decision that should be made after discussing options with your eye doctor.
The Importance of Regular Eye Exams
You may have noticed a common theme running through our discussion of adult vision concerns: regular visits to the eye doctor.
A comprehensive vision exam is essential to catching serious eye conditions before irreversible damage is done. Even people who’ve never needed eyeglasses or contacts are at risk of vision problems as they age.
Has it been awhile since your last comprehensive vision exam? Eyeconic can help you find an eye doctor.