Blindness Awareness Month

How do you keep your eyes healthy in old age?

Posted November 3, 2023 in Eye Health

Our eyes, like the rest of our bodies, change as we age. These changes can bring about a range of symptoms, some of which may be more noticeable than others. While these shifts in vision are a natural part of growing older, it’s vital to understand them and seek appropriate care. Let’s explore the common symptoms of aging eyes and delve into what causes these eye problems in old age. Additionally, we’ll shed light on the most prevalent eye issues that affect older individuals.


Aging eyes

What are the symptoms of aging eyes?

As we age, our eyes undergo various changes, and these changes can manifest in several noticeable symptoms. While these symptoms are a natural part of the aging process, it’s essential to recognize them and seek timely care. Some common symptoms of aging eyes include:

  • Blurry vision: Blurriness, especially when reading or viewing close objects, can become more frequent with age.
  • Difficulty seeing in low light: Aging eyes often struggle with low-light conditions, making it challenging to see clearly in dimly lit environments.
  • Increased sensitivity to glare: Older adults may find themselves more sensitive to glare from bright lights or sunlight, which can be uncomfortable and affect vision.
  • Reduced colour perception: The ability to perceive certain colours may diminish over time, leading to a less vibrant visual experience.
  • Difficulty focusing: Changing eye structures can make it harder to shift focus between near and distant objects, causing discomfort and strain.
  • Floaters and flashes: The appearance of floaters (tiny specks or threads) or flashes of light in the visual field may become more common with aging.

What causes eye problems in old age?

Several factors contribute to the development of eye problems in old age. These factors include:

  • Natural aging: The aging process itself brings about changes in the eye’s structures, affecting vision.
  • Genetics: A family history of certain eye conditions can increase the risk of developing similar problems as you age.
  • Chronic diseases: Conditions like diabetes and hypertension can affect eye health and lead to age-related eye issues.
  • Lifestyle choices: Smoking, poor nutrition, and excessive UV exposure can accelerate eye aging and increase the risk of eye problems.
  • Medications: Some medications may have side effects that impact vision or increase the risk of eye conditions.

What are the most common eye problems in the elderly?

It’s crucial to stay proactive about your eye health as you age. Regular eye exams and a healthy lifestyle can help manage and reduce the impact of these common eye problems associated with aging eyes. Older adults are more susceptible to various eye problems, with some of the most common including:

  • Cataracts: Clouding of the eye’s lens, leading to blurred vision.
  • Glaucoma: Increased intraocular pressure that can damage the optic nerve and result in vision loss.
  • Age-related macular degeneration (AMD): A condition affecting the macula, causing central vision loss.
  • Diabetic retinopathy: A complication of diabetes that damages blood vessels in the retina.
  • Dry eye syndrome: Insufficient tear production, leading to dryness, discomfort, and potential damage to the eye’s surface.

What is normal eye pressure for a 70-year-old?

Normal eye pressure, also known as intraocular pressure (IOP), can vary among individuals, but for most people, a healthy range falls between 12 and 22 millimetres of mercury (mm Hg). However, it’s crucial to note that normal eye pressure can change with age and other factors.

In some cases, older adults may experience an increase in eye pressure, which can be associated with conditions like glaucoma. Therefore, individuals over the age of 70 should have regular eye exams to monitor their eye pressure and overall eye health. If there are concerns about elevated eye pressure, it’s essential to consult with an eye care professional for further evaluation and potential management.

What is the fastest way to bring down eye pressure?

Reducing eye pressure typically requires medical intervention and management by an eye care specialist. The fastest way to bring down elevated eye pressure depends on the underlying cause. Common approaches include:

  • Medications: Prescription eye drops are often the first line of treatment for lowering eye pressure. These medications work by either reducing the production of aqueous humour (the fluid inside the eye) or improving its drainage.
  • Laser therapy: Some individuals may benefit from laser procedures, such as selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT) or laser peripheral iridotomy (LPI), to improve the drainage of eye fluid.
  • Surgery: In cases of severe or unresponsive glaucoma, surgical interventions like trabeculectomy or minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS) may be necessary to lower eye pressure.

It’s essential to follow the guidance of your eye care specialist when addressing elevated eye pressure, as the treatment approach will be tailored to your specific condition and needs.

What is the most serious age-related eye disorder?

One of the most serious eye disorders in aging eyes is Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). AMD primarily affects the macula, which is responsible for sharp, central vision. This condition can lead to significant visual impairment, particularly in older adults.

There are two main types of AMD:

  • Dry AMD: Dry AMD is characterized by the presence of yellow deposits, known as drusen, in the macula. It tends to progress slowly and may not cause significant vision loss initially.
  • Wet AMD: Wet AMD involves abnormal blood vessel growth beneath the macula, leading to more rapid and severe vision loss. It is considered more serious and requires prompt medical attention.

Early detection and management are crucial for AMD, as it can lead to irreversible vision loss if left untreated. Regular eye exams can help detect AMD and other age-related eye disorders in their early stages, allowing for timely intervention and improved outcomes.

As we journey through life, our eyes evolve with us. Understanding the symptoms, causes, and common eye problems associated with aging eyes can help you take proactive steps to maintain your eye health. Regular eye exams, a healthy lifestyle, and early intervention are key to managing age-related eye conditions effectively.

Don’t let aging eyes dim the brilliance of your world; take care of your vision and enjoy the beauty of life at every stage. If you or a loved one are experiencing any vision changes or have concerns about aging eyes, reach out to Erin Ridge Vision Care today. Our experienced team is here to provide expert guidance and support for your eye health journey. Schedule your eye exam and keep your eyes vibrant and healthy in every season of life.