Ageing is the course of nature. Ageing includes the deterioration of our bones, our nervous system, even our sense of touch, taste, smell, hearing and sight. In this article we will throw some light on age-related problems with respect to vision.

Let’s first look at the structure and the parts that make up our eye to help us understand the problems related to the eye:

eyeCancer Research UK, Diagram showing the parts of the eye CRUK 326, CC BY-SA 4.0

Enlisted below are some common age-related vision problems;

  • Presbyopia- Very often we see elders keeping their reading material at odd angles or being unable to read text in small print. They complain of headaches or eye strains when they try to focus on things close to them. Presbyopia also commonly known as long-sightedness is the inability to focus on things up close. It occurs in middle-aged and elderly people.

The function of the lens is to focus the light on the retina and to help focus on objects at various distances- just what a camera lens does. Presbyopia occurs due to the loss of elasticity or flexibility of the lens. This lack of elasticity makes it difficult for the eye to adjust its focus on things that are close and the light is focused at a place beyond the retina, thus making the image blurred. Ageing also affects the muscle fibres around the lens making it harder for the eye to focus.

Presbyopia is almost impossible to escape from, it is natural effect of ageing. However, it can easily be corrected with the help of reading glasses which can be bought over the counter or you can get it prescribed by your eye doctor after a check up.Presbyopia can also be treated by surgery.

  • Cataracts- The risk of developing cataract increases with age. Cataract is the clouding of the lens of the eye. It happens when protein builds up on the lens of the eye, this causes cloudy or hazy vision. Cataract is formed over a period of time.

Cataract affects millions of people all around the world. Depending on the intensity of protein build-up doctors may prescribe corrective glasses or my recommend surgery. In cataract corrective surgery, the clouded lens is replaced with an artificial lens and this outpatient procedure has a high rate of success.

  • Glaucoma- This eye condition may cause total blindness if not treated promptly. This condition does not affect everyone, but it affects people who are having
  • Family history of glaucoma
  • Diabetes
  • Steroidal intake
  • Poor vision
  • Eye injuries or Eye infections

Glaucoma is caused when there is damage to the optic nerve. Optic nerve transfers the image to the brain formed on the retina by sending electrical signals for image interpretation. This damage to the optic nerve is caused by high fluid (aqueous humor) pressure inside the eye.

Symptoms and the disease can go unnoticed. However some symptoms include loss of vision, headaches, appearance of visual lights disturbances, headache and eye pain.

Medical attention is the essence in case of glaucoma. It may be treated with the help of eye drops, laser surgery or microsurgery.

  • Age-related muscular degeneration- AMD causes severe loss of vision in the elderly (usually above 60 years of age). It is caused due to the deterioration of the central part of the retina. This central part of the retina also known as the mascula is responsible for sharp central vision which is essential for seeing well. This progressive disease rarely leads to complete visual loss.

Some of the symptoms are dim, blurry spots or loss of vision and an altered perception of colour.

There is no cure for AMD, but early diagnosis and treatment may control the progress of the disease which prevents loss of vision.

Even though there is wide spread of age-related vision problems, it doesn’t mean to impair you physically, mentally or emotionally. With so many advancements in the field of medicine and in technology, it is possible to keep your vision intact.  Regular ophthalmologist visit at least once a year has to be thoroughly checked. Keep your doctor informed about any family history of eye diseases, health issues like diabetes, blood pressure, eye infections or injuries.

Remember that in most cases early diagnosis and prompt timely treatment will save your vision.

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