The Top 5 Conditions That Lead to Age-Related Vision Loss
There are many conditions that seniors need to be aware of as they grow older—including health changes that can impact vision. There are several conditions that are more common in seniors that can ultimately lead to vision changes—and the more aware of these changes seniors are, the more prepared they will be when they start to notice the signs and symptoms of these conditions.
- AMD- Age-Related Macular Degeneration
This is a condition that mostly impacts seniors over 50 and affects the central vision. Typically, this condition will cause a blurry, dark patch directly in the line of sigh or an overall foggy appearance. It causes problems with driving, reading, and recognizing faces. Seniors should visit their eye doctor if they start to see waves in straight objects.
- Dry Eyes
Did you know that as we age, our tear glands actually start to produce fewer tears? This can create dry eyes. And while dry eyes won’t cause vision loss, they can cause the eyes to become irritated if there isn’t enough moisture to clear out the eyes. Excessive rubbing can cause temporary issues with vision such as stars or speckles in the vision. There are eye drops for this condition if other more serious issues are ruled out.
This is perhaps the most common age-related vision condition that impacts seniors today. When the front lens of the eyeball starts to become cloudy—it is a sign that cataracts are forming. Typically, cataracts and their symptoms develop gradually over-time. Common signals that cataracts are forming include overall blurry vision, issue recognizing colors and difficulty with driving at night.
- Diabetic-Related Eye Disease
Seniors who struggle with diabetes, and don’t have control over this condition can develop a condition known as diabetic retinopathy. With this condition, tiny blood vessels in the back of the eye can start to narrow or rupture, leading to dark patches in the vision from lack of oxygen.
This is another condition that becomes more and more common as we grow older. Glaucoma occurs when there is unusually high pressure on the optic nerve connected to the back of the eye. Over time, this pressure will break down the nerve, which can lead to blind spots.
The best way to make sure that issues like this don’t cause serious or permanent vision loss is to go to regular eye exams with an eye doctor, either an ophthalmologist or optician.
Every senior should keep this information in mind as they age and be on the lookout for signs and symptoms as well as noticeable changes in their vision that may be a sign of a developing issue. With the help of a doctor, seniors can get the help that they need to keep their eyes as healthy as possible.
- Kimberly Langdon M.D. is a retired, board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist with 19-years of clinical experience. She graduated from The Ohio State University College of Medicine earning Honors in many rotations. She then completed her OB/GYN residency program at The Ohio State University Medical Center, earning first-place for her senior research project and placed in the 98th percentile on the national exam for OB/GYN residents in the U.S..
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