Has the print on this label suddenly shrunk? If you are over 40 years old, you may have asked yourself this question when you were struggling to read something that you used to be able to see clearly with no problem.
Blame your aging eyes. Similar to our joints, our eyes are subject to age-related changes. While eye problems can affect people of all ages, some conditions are more common after the age of 40.
Age? Three common eye diseases
Presbyopia. The lens of the eye becomes stiffer with age, making it harder to focus on nearby objects – therefore, you will have difficulty reading labels. Many people are content with inexpensive reading glasses, but once you need them, it’s time for a midlife eyesight check.
Cataracts. Another common condition that can appear with age is cataracts, a clouding of the lens of the eye that can affect vision. Cataracts affect around half of people between the ages of 65 and 74. Treatment typically includes outpatient surgery to replace the clouded lens.
Dry eye syndrome. This condition affects more than 15 million adults in the United States and occurs due to a decrease in tear production. With less natural lubrication, your eyes can become irritated or sticky, or you may feel a burning or itchy sensation in the eye. Depending on their severity, symptoms can be treated with eye drops that simulate your natural tears, a topical prescription drug, or a tear-increasing device.
Additional eye conditions that may appear with age or illness
Posterior vitreous detachment (PVD). The signs of this condition are visual disturbances such as B. light streaks, swimmers or a spider web-like haze. These occur because the jelly-like substance, called glassy in the eye, begins to liquefy and shrink, causing it to pull on the retina.
Call your health care team right away if you notice these signs. While most people with PVD don’t need treatment, in some cases the vitreous humor can completely detach or tear from the retina. A tear or detachment can cause vision loss and requires a laser procedure or surgery to correct the problem, according to the American Society of Retina Specialists.
Glaucoma. Another disease that occurs more frequently after the age of 40 is glaucoma. This painless, often symptom-free condition damages the optic nerve, which carries information from your eyes to your brain. If left untreated, glaucoma can result in peripheral or central vision loss. The most common treatment for glaucoma is using prescription eye drops to reduce the pressure in your eye. In rarer cases, your doctor may recommend a laser procedure or surgery.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This condition leads to degeneration of the retina, a thin layer of tissue in the fundus. Light-sensitive cells in the retina capture images and transmit them to the brain via the optic nerve. AMD affects a central part of the retina called the macula. This can lead to blurred or distorted vision and possibly a blind spot in a person’s field of vision. Treatment, which may include medication or laser therapy, can often help prevent or at least delay vision loss.
Diabetic retinopathy. This condition also causes damage to the retina. In people with diabetes, keeping blood sugar and pressure under control helps prevent diabetic retinopathy. If it’s detected, your ophthalmologist will recommend treatment, usually eye injections or laser therapy.
Easy ways to maintain eye health
Many eye conditions can be treated effectively to protect your eyesight if detected early. That is why it is advisable to have regular eye exams to identify and correct potential problems before they affect your eyesight.
You can also take other measures to make sure your eyes stay healthy, such as: B. Exercise, eat healthy, quit smoking, and protect your eyes from ultraviolet rays by wearing sunglasses outside.