It’s normal to start experiencing changes as we age. The good news is that when it comes to our sight, we can see just as clearly as we did when we were young. Thanks to technological advances, it is possible to see even better than ever after certain procedures like cataract surgery.
Many treatable vision conditions become more common as we get older. However, it’s important to know that vision loss is not a normal sign of aging. September is Healthy Aging Month, which is the perfect time to learn about these eye health risks. If you or a loved one is experiencing worsening vision or eye discomfort, you may suffer from an age-related eye condition.
At Florida Eye Specialists, our experienced team of doctors is committed to providing you with excellent, personalized care. If your vision problems are beginning to impact your daily life and ability to do the things you love, visit an eye doctor you can trust.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Most cases of macular degeneration are related to the aging of the eyes, and seniors are much more likely to develop the disease than younger people. Age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) is a retinal disease that can cause blurred central vision, blind spots, and ultimately vision loss, primarily due to the aging of the macula.
There are two types of this condition, wet and dry. Dry ARMD is the most common type of eye disease and typically progresses slowly. It is a less severe form of the disease and occurs in three stages, including early, intermediate, and late.
Wet ARMD is a more severe type of condition and typically results in faster vision loss. While there are more treatment options for wet ARMD, severe retinal damage can occur due to abnormal blood vessel growth in the back of the eye.
ARMD can be diagnosed with the help of a dilated eye exam. Some treatment options include taking dietary supplements like vitamins and minerals, laser surgery, or ocular injections. While some treatment options may prove to be effective, this condition cannot currently be cured.
Cataracts are cloudy areas that develop on the eye’s naturally clear lens. Typically, cataracts develop as you age, and approximately one in five adults over the age of 65 have experienced them.
Cataracts occur when proteins in the lens of the eye begin to break down and clump together. This clump is what develops the cloudy area. The eye condition is extremely common, and treatment options are quick, safe, and easy.
Traditional cataract surgery uses sound wave technology that breaks the cataract into micro-fragments. A small incision is made on the front of the eye with an ultrasonic probe. Cataract debris is then extracted from the eye and replaced with an intraocular lens.
An alternative to traditional cataract surgery is laser cataract surgery. Femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery (FLACS) involves a sophisticated imaging system that results in more precise and accurate outcomes.
This method allows surgeons to measure the exact dimensions of the cataract even before surgery. This high level of detail enables eye surgeons to correct astigmatism, far-, nearsightedness, and other vision problems during the procedure.
Glaucoma is commonly caused by increased pressure around the optic nerve due to a fluid backup within the eye. Over time, this pressure causes damage to the optic nerve, leading to vision problems.
Most cases of glaucoma develop slowly over months or years. Many patients do not observe symptoms until later stages. Advanced age is a risk factor for the diagnosis of glaucoma and can impact its progression substantially. Treatment can include eye drops, medication, or laser surgical procedures.
There are three primary types of glaucoma, one being primary open-angle glaucoma, which accounts for 90% of glaucoma cases. This form occurs when intraocular pressure is too high in the eye. There are often no symptoms until significant vision loss is noticed.
Angle-closure glaucoma is a rarer form of glaucoma and results in a sudden increase in intraocular pressure. Due to this extreme symptom, angle-closure glaucoma is considered a medical emergency and requires emergency surgery.
Normal tension glaucoma is similar to glaucoma but refers to cases in which the optic nerve is damaged despite normal levels of intraocular pressure. Early detection of all forms of glaucoma is essential to avoid irreversible vision damage or loss.
Diabetic Retinopathy Symptoms
Diabetic retinopathy may occur in patients with diabetes. Many patients develop diabetic retinopathy with no early warning signs. The condition progressively develops as you age, and symptoms can vary from blurriness, dark vision, lack of color perception, and even blindness.
Diabetic Retinopathy Causes
This complication of diabetes occurs due to blood vessel damage within retinal tissue. Neglected blood sugar levels often cause this damage. Effective treatment for diabetic retinopathy is proper and mindful diabetes management. Severe cases of eye conditions may require laser treatment or surgery.
People with diabetes should receive a dilated eye exam at least once a year. Dilated eye exams are critical in pinpointing developing eye conditions in their beginning stages to avoid lasting impacts like vision loss and blindness.
Individuals over 50 with good vision should attend regular eye exams to check for asymptomatic eye conditions. Retinopathy can take place in the eyes of non-diabetic individuals as well.
Dry Eye Disease
Dry Eye Causes
All healthy eyes have a layer of tear film to protect against outside particles. Dry eye disease occurs when your tears do not provide your eyes with proper moisture. The risk of developing this condition increases as you age, specifically for women post-menopause.
Decreased tear production can be caused by factors other than age, including medications like antidepressants, birth control, antihistamines, and more. Certain medical conditions like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, vitamin A deficiency, and more have also been known to result in dry eye disease.
Dry Eye Symptoms
Symptoms typically occur in both eyes and consist of sensitivity to light, eye redness, blurred vision, watery eyes, burning eyes, and more. This discomfort is commonly treated with prescription eye drops, artificial tears, or tear duct plugs.
Don’t Miss Your Annual Eye Exam
Schedule an appointment with an eye specialist that you can trust today. At Florida Eye Specialists, we are dedicated to providing the highest quality patient care and restoring your clear vision so you can get back to doing the things you love.
Which Vision Conditions Are Age-Related? is written by Florida Eye Specialists for www.floridaeyespecialists.com