Growing old is physiology – a part of the aging process. Some of the most notable changes that occur in the eye, as we age, are as follows –
When the ability of the lens inside our eye – to focus – decreases slowly with age, we are often prescribed reading glasses. The problem is commonplace in many people over the age of 40. Reading glasses help us to see clearly for near-vision. They also help us to overcome the requirement of the lens in the eye to change its focal length. However this may be, glasses need to be gradually increased in power since the eye loses its focusing ability, as we age further. It should be remembered, though, that the use of reading glasses does not speed up, or delay the process of failing vision [presbyopia].
This is caused by the decline in central vision. This can occur as a consequence of degenerative changes in the macula, the central part of the retina, especially in the 60+-age group. The macula plays a very useful role in reading and performing delicate eye tasks.
Though the cause of macular degeneration is not well understood, it is believed to be related to exposure to bright light over a long period of time. This is one reason why the use of sunglasses is a prescribed mode of preventative choice. Sunglasses help decrease the incidence of macular degeneration. However, most forms of macular degeneration are an inevitable part of the aging process.
The warning signs of macular degeneration are: any sudden, distorted change, in your vision, including reduced near-vision, or blurred central vision. When you notice these changes, seek an appointment with your eye doctor, or ophthalmologist – promptly.
When the lens within the eye becomes opaque, the condition is called cataract. Cataract increases with age, especially after age 60. There are different types of cataract, although not all types need surgery. Surgery is advised only when the vision becomes blurred, or normal visual tasks cannot be performed with relative ease.
Glaucoma is a condition in which the pressure inside the eye becomes too high. This may lead to loss of vision. The condition may be prevalent in certain families.
Glaucoma is most often diagnosed in people over age 50, though most of the patients may not be aware that they have the disorder. They get to know that something is disturbingly wrong only when the condition has reached its advanced state.
It is important for people in the 60+-age group to undergo eye check-up at regular intervals. It is also ideal for them to be screened for glaucoma, especially when there is a possibility and/or presence of a family history of the condition. Most cases of glaucoma often respond to pressure reducing eye drops. Surgery is recommended in cases that suggest possible loss of vision.
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