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Three age-related vision changes to look out for

Our eyes are always changing as we age. You may not even remember what your eyes were like when you were younger, and that’s okay, it’s part of the ageing process. Everybody’s eyes age, but it’s important to know the difference between standard ageing and problematic ageing.

Vision changes are normal, but many can be prevented. Is it normal to develop an aversion to light? Should your vision be blurry?

Here are three age-related vision changes and how you can treat them alone or with the help of an optometrist or eye surgeon.

1. Presbyopia

Presbyopia is part of every eye’s ageing process. Presbyopia comes with ageing and is unavoidable. It isn’t something to be worried about, and it won’t damage your eyes, however it does make your eyes different from when you were 18.

Presbyopia occurs naturally as the harding of the eye’s lens. As people age, their lenses begin to lose flexibility. This means that their eyes have more trouble focusing, especially on objects closer to the eyes. Typically, presbyopia is treated with contact lenses and reading glasses.

Presbyopia seems to begin after the age of 40. If you’re over 40 and notice blurriness to close objects, or that your current prescription isn’t working as well as it used to, it may be a good idea to have your eyes tested for presbyopia.

Speak to your optometrist about whether you need your first or a new prescription. If the condition worsens over time, there are surgery options including monovision, multifocal implants and corneal inlays which all work to treat the problem.

2. Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

If you know a thing or two about eye conditions, you would have guessed this nuisance would be here. After all, it does start with the words “age-related”, so it is directly linked to vision changes as we get older. But, like presbyopia, it can be staved off. AMD will eventually affect everyone once they reach a certain age, but it is possible to prevent its impact and stop it from actually claiming your ability to see.

AMD is the natural ageing of the macula. The macula is the most sensitive part of the retina, and slowly diminishes as we age. However, this ageing can have a hugely negative impact on a person’s vision, and could potentially lead to severely impacted vision. It won’t lead to complete blindness, but can get to a stage where it makes doing everyday activities like driving and reading impossible. As the name suggests, age is the typical factor in AMD, but it can also be caused by eye injuries.

AMD can begin without symptoms. So, if you are concerned about your eyesight as you age, you might want to see an optometrist and have a proper examination. They will be able to help prevent AMD if you are diagnosed with it.

3. Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry eyes are incredibly common for ageing people. As you age, your body loses its ability to produce as much moisture as it used to. This also results in the body not producing enough moisture for the eyes.

When your eyes don’t produce enough tears, they evaporate far more quickly. This can lead your eyes to feeling dry and uncomfortable. Dry eyes can make reading or computer work very difficult. They can also cause an unwanted burning or stinging sensation.

You can treat dry eyes syndrome with artificial eye drops that take the role of tears. Omega-3 tablets can also provide a solution to dry eye syndrome as omega-3 improves the eye’s oil film. If you don’t want to take omega-3 tablets, it can also be found in salmon, flaxseeds, eggs and other foods.

Age-related vision changes are natural, but some of them are largely preventable. Make sure that as you age you are keeping on top of any noticeable vision changes and contact your health specialist - optometrist when necessary.

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