Eye problems are a common complaint among the elderly. The American Optometric Association advises that older adults need to be aware of the warning signs of age-related eye health problems as they can cause loss of vision. Also since some eye diseases have no early symptoms, they recommend annual eye examinations for everyone over age 60. It is important to remember that while many eye conditions are easily treated, diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure can lead to serious eye problems.
One almost universal vision change experienced by older adults is Presbyopia, which is the gradual, age-related loss of the eyes’ ability to focus clearly on nearby objects. Typically the condition is not treated with any intervention other than a pair of reading glasses.
Floaters are another problem seniors experience and appear as tiny specks or spots that seem to float across your field of vision. The Mayo Clinic says that most eye floaters are caused by “age-related changes that occur as the jelly-like substance (vitreous) inside your eyes becomes more liquid. Microscopic fibers within the vitreous tend to clump and can cast tiny shadows on your retina, which appear to you as floaters.” It is important to have the condition checked by an eye doctor as it can also be a sign of more serious eye problems including retinal detachment.
Dry eyes are also common in seniors and can cause itching, burning and even loss of vision. Treatment includes nutritional supplements, medications to reduce inflammation, or eye drops that simulate real tears. On the other side some older adults can have too many tears that may result from temperature changes or sensitivity to light. Taking precautions such as wearing sunglasses can help but you should be checked by your doctor as it could signal an infection or blocked tear duct.
In addition cataracts and glaucoma are frequent problems affecting older adults. In the case of cataracts, once they begin to affect your eyesight they can usually be removed by surgery. Glaucoma is not curable but it is treatable, and without treatment, it can eventually lead to permanent blindness.
This post is intended for informational purposes only. Please contact your health care provider with any questions or concerns you have regarding your health.
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