You may have had perfect vision throughout your adolescence. You scoffed at those who couldn’t read the street sign from such a distance as you could! But as you’ve aged, so have your eyes.
Suddenly things start looking a little blurry, you have to take a second or two to bring things into focus, or maybe your head just aches after reading. So what exactly is going on in our bodies that is causing these changes?
The average age that people begin to notice a decline in their vision is around 40 years old. For some, it may be sooner (maybe you struggled with your eyes your entire life!) and others may not notice a change for decades longer. Presbyopia is the usual suspect for these age-related issues. It is caused when the lens of your eye gradually becomes less flexible, leading to an inability to focus clearly. You’ve probably noticed older individuals holding books or newspapers at arm’s length in order to make out the words – presbyopia is the likely cause.
Presbyopia is very common and very treatable (or even curable thanks to modern medicine). Most cases can be fixed with reading glasses, while some others may look to contact lenses or even laser surgery.
Another common issue we start to notice with age is the occurrence of eye “floaters”. These are little specks that seem to get stuck in your line of vision. Usually when you try to focus your eye on them, they flutter off. When we age, something called vitreous gel becomes more liquefied than it previously was and begins to pull away from the retina – this then causes the spots or “floaters”.
These are usually normal and harmless; however, they can also be a symptom of much more serious eye conditions so if you begin to notice the “floaters” more frequently, seek medical attention immediately.
As you continue to age into your later years, the chance of developing cataracts will continue to grow. Cataracts are cloudy areas on the lens of your eyes that cause blurred vision. It is very important to have continual, routine eye exams if you ever begin to notice symptoms of cataracts. If the disease progresses, then cataract surgery could be an option.
As our bodies age, so do our eyes. The health of our eyes can be determined by many of the same criteria as our bodies. This means a healthy diet and good lifestyle choices (such as not smoking and protecting your eyes with sunglasses), as well as routine eye exams.