Warning Signs of Age-Related Eye Conditions

Posted By Key-Whitman Eye Center || 24-Jul-2014

warningSMALLEye conditions can affect people of all ages, but as we age, our eyes may become more prone to eye conditions that could lead to serious vision loss or even blindness.

The best way to protect your vision is to keep up with regular eye exams, but educating yourself on the warning signs of common eye conditions is also important in preventing permanent vision loss.

If you experience any of the following signs, contact your eye doctor immediately. These may be symptoms of a serious, vision-threatening eye condition.

1. Sudden onset of floaters or flashes, or darkness in your field of vision.Spots in your vision called floaters and flashes of light can be a common, non-threatening eye condition, but if you experience a sudden onset of a lot of floaters and/or flashes or sudden darkness in your field of vision, it could be a sign of a retinal tear or detaching retina. Vision loss could be permanent if the retina is not reattached within hours.

2. Unexplained blurred vision and dark spots or floaters.Diabetic retinopathy is a serious eye condition affecting people with diabetes, and is the leading cause of blindness in people ages 20-64. About 25 percent of diabetics have some form of diabetic retinopathy, and 5 percent have a severe version of the disease. Early detection of diabetic retinopathy through a comprehensive eye exam is vital to preserving vision.

3. Cloudy, dull or blurred vision and/or seeing halos around lights.Cataracts commonly affect aging adults. If you notice you have difficulty seeing to read, drive or complete simple daily tasks, it may be due to cataracts, a clouding of the focusing lens of the eye. Vision can be saved with cataract surgery, during which the clouded lens is removed and replaced with an artificial lens implant.

4. Gradual loss of vision, distorted vision.Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in older Americans.The condition causes a diminishing of sharp central vision due to damage to the macula. Vision changes caused by macular degeneration can advance so slowly that symptoms may go unnoticed, but the disease can be detected early with a comprehensive eye exam.

5. Sudden vision loss, severe eye pain, rainbow-colored circles in vision.Glaucoma occurs when the fluid in the eye does not flow normally, resulting in high pressure inside the eye. Common symptoms of glaucoma include haziness in the vision, sudden vision loss, appearance of rainbow-colored circles around bright lights or severe eye pain accompanied by nausea or vomiting. When pressure builds in the eye, optic nerve damage and permanent blindness may result if not controlled. You may be at higher risk of developing glaucoma if you have high blood pressure, high blood sugar or a family history of the disease.

Early detection of each of these eye conditions is essential in halting the progression of the disease and restoring vision that has been lost, if possible. The American Optometric Association recommends eye exams every two years for adults between the ages of 18 and 60, and annual exams for seniors over age 61. This is why regular annual eye exams, or as recommended by your eye doctor are crucial in maintaining and preserving your vision.

If you notice any of the symptoms listed above, do not wait to schedule an appointment with your eye doctor. Early diagnosis and treatment could save your vision.

Categories: Eye Conditions, Eye Health
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