Aging & Your Eyes- Presbyopia
We know that as you age, things start to change, but what about your eyes and vision? Read on to find out how your vision can change as you get older.
HOW DOES AGING AFFECT MY EYES?
There are a number of ways your eyes may change as you age. The most common condition which affects your eyes as you age is known as Presbyopia. The lens within the eye changes shape to allow us to focus on near objects- much like changing the aperture on your camera lens! As we age, the lens weakens and starts to lose it's ability to change shape, and so we cannot focus as easily up close.
Presbyopia happens to everyone and is no cause for concern- but it may mean it's time for a pair of reading glasses!
WHEN WILL I DEVELOP PRESBYOPIA?
There is no definitive age when presbyopia occurs. However, typically from the age of 40 people may notice the following signs:
Difficulty focusing up close
Having to hold reading material at arms length to see it clearly
Eyes tiring quickly while doing near tasks
CAN PRESBYOPIA be treated?
Presbyopia cannot be prevented, but it is easily corrected by wearing prescription glasses or contact lenses to improve your vision when doing close-up work. While these glasses improve near vision, they may make distance vision blurry while wearing them. Multifocals and bifocals are specialised lenses that combine both near and distance prescriptions to allow you to see both clearly when wearing your glasses or contact lenses.
Your optometrist will discuss the best option for you at your eye examination.
WILL MY EYES KEEP GETTING WORSE?
Initially yes. Between the approximate ages of 40 and 60 as the eyes continue to age, you will find you need to update and strengthen your reading glasses every few years. The changes typically slow down in your 50's, when your eyes stabilise.
Other vision changes associated with aging
The percentage of adults who struggle with Night Blindness also increases with age. Night Blindness is defined as poor vision at night or in low-light conditions and is particularly noticeable whilst driving, which can be of concern for drivers. Find out more about Night Blindness.
Medications and illness can also impact your eyes and vision. Those over 50 are at an increased risk of developing eye conditions such as cataracts, diabetes, macular degeneration and glaucoma- particularly if there is a family history of these.
It is important to note that the early stages of eye disease are commonly asymptomatic- many conditions have no obvious symptoms. For those at risk of or living with Macular Degeneration, warped vision is a symptom and an Amsler Grid occurs too gradually to notice until significant- and usually irreversible- loss to your vision has occurred. Your optometrist is able to detect minor changes to your vision before you can, which is why is becomes more important to have regular eye checks.
Having a comprehensive eye exam every two to three years provides the best chances of preventing vision loss and detecting eye disease early.
Once you turn 65, we recommend an eye exam every year to ensure the health of your eyes- particularly if you have a family history of any medical conditions that could affect your eyes. Click here to make an appointment.