Changes to our eyes and bodies as we age are all normal and expected. When these changes happen, they can vary from person to person as when the changes may or may not appear, as not everyone will get the same.
- More Light: Needing more light to see is due to the aging photoreceptors in your eyes, as they cannot absorb as much light as it used to. This might mean needing more light when reading or opting for brighter lights when you’re driving at night.
- Glare: In time, the light that enters your eye eventually scatters rather than centralizing on the retina, resulting in glare.
- Color Perception: Aging photoreceptors, will change how you see color, such as identifying particular color shades.
- Dry Eyes: Dry eyes are the result of your tear glands producing fewer tears, this can always be rectified with the use of eye drops.
- Focusing: Trouble focusing on an object that is close by is an indicator of your lenses are losing flexibility. If your eyes are having trouble focusing, no need to panic, eye drops and increasing the light in your environment can help your eyes focus better.
Now that you can foresee normal changes, it is more important to be aware of changes that are not.
Not Normal Changes: Plenty of normal changes are bound to happen as you age, but there are changes which are signs of a deeper underlying issue.
- Fluctuating changes in vision. Frequent vision changes may be a sign of diabetes or high blood pressure. These particular conditions have the potential to seriously harm the blood vessels in the eye which could result in permanent vision.
- Floaters and flashes. Seeing flashes or small spots on your line of vision is not harming, but more annoying than anything. These floaters are tiny particles floating within the fluid inside the eye and for some, a normal part of aging. But if you start to see them more often than not, it could be a sign that your retina might have been torn and must be seen by an ophthalmologist.
- Loss of side vision. Losing this part of your vision could be an indication of glaucoma and must require immediate medical attention. This condition appears when the optic nerve is damaged or that the brain cannot send visual images to your brain.
- Seeing distorted images. Objects looking wavy or distorted within the center of your vision could be a sign of macular degeneration (age-related macular degeneration or AMD). The disease affects the macula, the back portion of your eye. If you have large concerns about macular degeneration, it is best to regularly have eye examinations to keep your eyes in check.
Here is also a look at what you can expect as you age.
20s – 30s:
During your 20s and 30s, your eyes are more or less healthy and stable even with the use of corrective lenses. This is the best time to take the best care of your body as it will, in turn, help your eyes as you age as it will help preserve your lenses which are quite flexible at this point.
The 40s brings about the start of the most immediate changes in the eyes, though they can appear anywhere from ages 41 to 60. With the listed normal changes, another change is having difficulty focusing on up-close tasks, called presbyopia, this may continue throughout life. The best way to compensate for this is with corrective lenses like that of reading glasses or even with multifocals. Other changes come from the body itself also aging and becomes at risk of systemic conditions, like that of high cholesterol or diabetes; in turn, making the person at risk higher for contracting any eye condition earlier in life.
50s/60s – Older:
As you age further, the risks will go up of contracting different age-related eye diseases, with glaucoma and cataracts being two of the main concerns. Glaucoma is a disease that is gravely important to watch as it deteriorates the optic nerve and cataracts clouds the eye’s lens. During these years it is important to regularly have your eyes checked to make sure there are no major changes, as well as your body since the risks are higher than it was in the 40s. In addition, presbyopia continues and might go further in advance and it is imperative to change your corrective lenses as you and your eye doctor see fit.