Eye conditions don’t only affect older adults. Many vision problems
and eye conditions can show up in childhood, teenage and early adult years.
From childhood years, where our eyes are developing through adulthood,
there are particular things to look for, and ways to protect
Children and teenagers -The eyes are typically fully developed by the time a person reaches their
early 20s. Children and teenagers should have routine
eye exams to check for vision problems. It is not uncommon for a child or teenager’s
eye glasses or contact lens prescription to change from year to year.
For the most part, our vision remains steady as we reach adulthood.
Children and teenagers who participate in youth sports are at higher risk
of eye injuries, especially those who play baseball or softball, hockey,
racquet sports and participate in boxing or martial arts. Whenever possible,
eye protection should be worn. Hockey and lacrosse players should wear
polycarbonate masks at all times.
Children and teenagers should also get regular exercise to improve circulation
to the eye and avoid smoking, as it increases their chances of developing
cataracts as an adult. Contact lenses that are not prescribed by an eye
doctor can result in abrasions to the eye and cause eye infections that
could result in blindness. Children and adults should only wear contact
lenses that are prescribed and properly fitted by their eye doctor.
Adults under 40 - During early adulthood, vision should be fully developed, and we are at
lower risk of experiencing eye conditions such as cataracts, although
adults under 40 are not completely exempt from developing such eye conditions.
As adults, regular vision screening and testing for
glaucoma is essential to maintaining eye health.
Like children and teenagers, exercise is important in our overall health.
Exercise is also crucial in promoting healthy eyes. Not only does exercise
stimulate healthy blood circulation, but it also reduces risk of diabetes
and diabetic retinopathy.
Adults should also avoid smoking or quit smoking. Smoking increases chances
of developing cataracts, but it can also increase risk of severe vision
loss in adults who already have an eye disease. Smoking while pregnant
puts babies at higher risk of premature birth and retinopathy of prematurity,
which could result in blindness.
Middle-aged adults- This is the time of life when many eye conditions and diseases begin
to develop. Early detection through complete eye exams can help prevent
severe vision loss.
Health problems like high blood pressure and diabetes can affect eye health
as well. If you have been diagnosed with any systemic health problems,
keep your eye doctor well informed so he or she will be more aware during
exams, and keep a careful watch on any potential vision problems. As a
rule of thumb, individuals under 50 should see their eye doctor biennially.
Adults over 50 should visit annually, as well as anyone who wears glasses
Exercise is equally important for middle-aged adults to prevent diabetic
retinopathy and promote proper circulation to the eyes. Be sure to wear
protective eye wear and sunglasses to protect from the sun’s dangerous
Adults over 60 - Remember that normal aging should not cause vision loss. If you have
experienced vision loss or drastic changes in your vision, consult with
your eye doctor. Some vision changes, however, are normal with age. Presbyopia
develops with age and can make focusing and adjusting to light changes
more difficult. Older adults with existing eye conditions may find driving
at night or in the rain more challenging as they age.
Once again, a healthy lifestyle is one of the best things we can do to
maintain our vision as we age. Exercise regularly and avoid smoking to
keep your eyes healthy. Protect yourself from eye injuries by situating
your home so as to avoid falls as much as possible. Falling is one of
the leading causes of eye injuries in older adults. As we age, it’s
important to give as much attention to the health of our eyes as we do
our overall health. Regular eye exams and screenings for eye conditions
should be part of your health routine. Don’t assume vision loss
is normal as you age. If you experience changes in your vision, it’s
always wise to consult with your eye doctor, rather than brushing it off
as “old age.”
When considering your eye care, be sure to stay up to date with the latest
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