YOUR HEALTH: Vision changes are common with age
By Dr. Alex Kennedy
Like the rest of our bodies, our eyes are not immune to the symptoms of aging.
Starting from the age of about 40, you’re apt to experience a number of vision changes. Here’s a sample of what to expect as your eyes age:
Presbyopia – After about age 40, it becomes inevitably and progressively more difficult to focus on small or very near print.
Eventually, some sort of corrective lenses will be required, such as reading glasses or multifocals. Surgical options are also available, which you can discuss with your optometrist.
Cataracts – According to the Mayo Clinic, about half of all 65-year-old Americans have cataracts, and that figure rises with age. Fortunately, modern cataract surgery is extremely safe and effective.
However, any cataract formation should be addressed before it becomes too advanced, so make sure you tell your optometrist about any changes in your vision.
Macular degeneration – the leading cause of blindness worldwide.
See your optometrist immediately if you notice any blurriness in your central vision or any change in your sensitivity to light or colours.
Glaucoma – The risk of developing glaucoma increases from about one per cent in your 40s to 12 per cent in your 80s.
Diabetic retinopathy – With a rising prevalence of diabetes, many more people are experiencing diabetes-related vision loss as they enter their senior years.
It’s been estimated that 30 per cent of diabetics haven’t been diagnosed – another reason to report any vision issues to your optometrist.
Several other conditions are frequently experienced by aging eyes, including dry eyes, loss of peripheral vision, decreased colour perception and otherwise harmless spots, “floaters” or flashes of light (although such flashes could also signal a detached retina, which could lead to blindness).
The best way to reduce your risk of developing any of these conditions is to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle, and to have your eyes checked at least annually by an optometrist.
Dr. Alex Kennedy is an optometrist with Mosaic Vision Care in Courtenay. To make an appointment, call him 250-334-4512 or visit www.mosaicvisioncare.com.