Over the years, your eyes have helped you see a lot of beautiful things. Your first time viewing a mountain range or the ocean, your bride or groom on your wedding day, and your child’s smile are all unforgettable visions. Having sight is truly a gift, and as you age, it is important to pay extra attention to your eyes and what they are trying to tell you about your health. Familiarize yourself with common eye problems of the elderly so you can protect your vision for years to come.
Common Eye Problems of the Elderly
Diabetic Eye Disease
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 100 million Americans have diabetes or prediabetes. Diabetic eye disease is a complication from diabetes, and it is very important to keep your insulin levels in check to prevent vision loss. If you have diabetes, ask your eye doctor for a comprehensive dilated eye examination at least once a year so you can evaluate whether or not you are keeping your blood sugar levels in check.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
According to the National Eye Institute, AMD is one of the leading causes of vision loss in those ages 50 and older. This disease gradually destroys your sharp central vision but doesn’t lead to complete blindness. Those with advanced AMD have difficulty seeing people’s faces, reading books, and driving. Unfortunately, there is no known effective treatment for AMD, but it is never too late to take steps to prevent it. The disease occurs less often in people who exercise, don’t smoke, and eat healthy foods like leafy greens and fish. If you already have AMD, picking up these healthy habits may slow down the progression of the disease.
Cataracts are another one of the common eye problems of the elderly. By age 80, more than half of all Americans either have a cataract or have had cataract surgery (source). But don’t be too alarmed. Unlike AMD, cataracts are treatable. A cataract can form on one eye or both eyes and causes your vision to become cloudy. In a healthy eye, light enters through the lens to the retina. Then the retina converts the light into nerve signals that get delivered to the brain. However, eyes with cataracts have a clouded lens, which means the retina doesn’t receive a clear image. If you are experiencing cloudy vision, you might be a candidate for cataract surgery, which can completely correct the problem.
Glaucoma is actually a group of diseases that affect the eye’s optic nerve. These diseases can lead to vision loss and blindness if left untreated. If you’re dealing with glaucoma, you might notice a feeling of tightness or pressure in your eyes, followed by trouble seeing in your peripheral vision. To prevent permanent vision loss related to glaucoma, you should make regular appointments with your eye doctor. Treating the disease early is the best way to control the progression. The way your doctor chooses to treat your glaucoma will depend on which type you’re struggling with.
Are you experiencing one of these common eye problems of the elderly? Don’t wait any longer to talk to your eye doctor so you can go on seeing all the beautiful things this life has to offer.
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