Warning Signs for Age-Related Eye Problems

Posted By Key-Whitman Eye Center || 23-Aug-2013

agerelatedvisionlossAs we age, the function of parts of our bodies decline, including our eyes. Most people over the age of 40 will experience age-related vision loss due to presbyopia, cataracts or another condition. The good news is that many of these age-related vision problems can be treated with laser eye surgery or cataract surgery.

Have you noticed that you need glasses to see up close, when you haven’t in the past? Do you struggle to see things at a distance or to distinguish between colors? If so, your vision problems may be related to age.

If you are over 40 years of age, it’s important to know the warning signs of age-related eye problems. Here are some common age-related vision problems and symptoms to watch for:

Presbyopia
As we mature, the crystalline lens of the eye loses its elasticity and causes the near point of clear vision to be move farther from the eye. Presbyopia usually occurs in the early or mid-forties.

Symptoms of presbyopia:

  • Blurred vision at a normal reading distance
  • The need to hold reading materials at arms length
  • Headache or eye strain after doing close work
  • Difficulty reading small print

Age-related macular degeneration
Sharp, central vision gradually diminishes as the macula is gradually destroyed with age-related macular degeneration. Common in adults over 50, macular degeneration sometimes advances so slowly that symptoms aren’t noticed for a long time.

Symptoms of age-related macular degeneration:

  • Straight lines appear wavy or distorted
  • Distorted center of vision
  • Diminished or changed color perception

Cataracts
A cataract is a clouding of the focusing lens of the eye, rather than a growth or film on the eye. Cataracts can make it difficult to do normal tasks like driving, reading or watching TV. Once the focusing lens is clouded, there is no way to clear it. Thus, cataract surgery must be performed to replace the focusing lens of the eye.

Symptoms of cataracts:

  • Clouded, blurry or dim vision
  • Difficulty seeing at night
  • Sensitivity to light and glare
  • Seeing “halos” around lights
  • Fading or yellowing of colors
  • Double vision in one eye
  • Frequent changes in glasses or contact lens prescription

Diabetic retinopathy
Blood vessels in the back of the eye leak, impairing vision. This condition is caused by diabetes and can lead to a significant loss of vision. It is the leading cause of blindness in the 20-64 year age group, and is one of the most frequent causes of retinal blindness in the world. About 25 percent of diabetics have some form of diabetic retinopathy, and five percent have severe cases.

Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy:

  • Spots or dark strings floating in vision
  • Blurred or fluctuating vision
  • Dark or empty areas in vision
  • Vision loss
  • Difficulty with color perception

Glaucoma
A condition in which the fluid in the eye does not flow normally, resulting in high pressure inside the eye. Optic nerve damage and permanent blindness may result if the pressure is not controlled. There are two types of glaucoma: open-angle glaucoma and angle-closure glaucoma. There are typically no early warning signs or symptoms of open-angle glaucoma. By the time the disease reaches angle-closure stage and symptoms appear, the disease is advanced. Vision loss due to glaucoma cannot be restored.

Symptoms of angle-closure glaucoma:

  • Hazy or blurred vision
  • Appearance of rainbow-colored “halos” around bright lights
  • Severe head and eye pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sudden vision loss

Vision loss with age can be expected, but it should not be ignored. Many vision problems and eye diseases can be detected with a thorough exam before you experience any warning signs and symptoms. The earlier these eye problems are diagnosed and treated, the greater your chances of restoring your vision. Call Key-Whitman today to set up a comprehensive eye exam at 855-600-7296.

Categories: Eye Health
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