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Everyone's Vision Changes With Age

ActiveAgingWeek is Sept. 23 - 29. This week calls attention to and wholeheartedly celebrates the positivity of aging. It showcases the capabilities of older adults as fully participating members of society and spotlights the role models that lead the way!

As you age, it is normal to notice changes in your vision. Vision changes can make it difficult to perform everyday activities, such as reading, walking safely, taking medications, performing self-care and household tasks, and driving. Some changes are normal. These changes include the following:

  • Losing focus, making it harder to focus vision up close.
  • Having trouble distinguishing colors, such as blue from black, or where an object ends and its background begins.
  • Needing more light to see well and more time to adjust to changing levels of light (e.g., going from a room that is dark to one that is brightly lit).

These changes do not have to stop you from enjoying an active lifestyle or maintaining your independence. These vision changes can often be corrected with the following:

  • Glasses
  • Contact lenses
  • Improved lighting

Vision loss is not a normal part of aging. But, as you get older, you are at higher risk of developing the following age-related eye diseases and conditions that can lead to vision loss or blindness:

  • Age-related macular
  • degeneration
  • Cataract
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Glaucoma

In their early stages, these diseases often have no warning signs or symptoms. The only way to detect them before they cause vision loss or blindness is through a comprehensive dilated eye exam. During a comprehensive dilated eye exam, your eye care professional will put drops in your eyes to dilate, or widen, the pupils. He or she will use a special magnifying lens to examine your eyes to look for signs of eye disease. A comprehensive dilated eye exam is not the same exam you have for glasses or contact lenses. But this exam can also help detect other vision problems, such as presbyopia (you lose the ability to focus up close, but your ability to focus on objects that are far away remains normal), nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.

There Are Other Things You Can Do To Protect Your Vision

  • Stop smoking.
  • Eat a diet rich in green, leafy vegetables and fish.
  • Exercise.
  • Maintain normal blood pressure.
  • Control diabetes (if you have it).
  • Wear sunglasses and a brimmed hat any time you are outside in bright sunshine.
  • Wear protective eyewear when working around your house or playing sports.

Be Prepared When You Visit Your Eye Care Professional

Have a list of all your questions and concerns ready when you visit your eye care professional. Also, be sure to tell him or her about all the medications you are taking. Some may have side effects that can affect vision. Here are some good questions to ask:

  • Am I at higher risk for eye disease?
  • What changes can I expect in my vision?
  • Will the changes in my vision get worse?
  • Can the changes in my vision be corrected? How?
  • What can I do to protect or prolong my vision?
  • Will diet, exercise, or other lifestyle changes help?
  • How often should I have an eye exam?

5 Signs It’s Time For An Eye Exam

Now you know how often to schedule regular appointments and some of the risk factors that could increase your appointment frequency, but what if something happens between appointments? Here are a few reasons not to wait until the next one to come see us:

  • Blurred vision. If your vision is starting to blur , you probably need a new glasses prescription, so come on in!
  • Frequent headaches. Many things can cause headaches, including digital eye strain.
  • Floaters or bright flashes. A few floaters are normal, but if you’ve noticed a bunch of new ones, schedule an appointment right away, particularly if you’re also seeing bright flashes or losing peripheral vision. These are symptoms of retinal detachment, which must be treated as quickly as possible to preserve vision.
  • Light sensitivity. A little light sensitivity usually isn’t a problem, but if it suddenly gets bad, it could indicate an eye infection.
  • Difficulty driving at night. If the road lines and street signs become difficult to see at night, it could be a sign of vision loss or nearsightedness. It could be as simple as needing a stronger prescription, but it could also be a symptom of an eye disease.

Don’t Put Off Your Next Visit!

It’s easy to let something that only happens once every other year slip through the cracks, but don’t let that happen with your eye exams! If you can’t remember how long it’s been since your last exam, schedule your next one now. We can’t wait to see you! Call us @ 704-821-5009.