Most people do not think of turning 40 as a trigger for age-related issues with their vision. In reality, however, this is when eye health care professionals start to see signs of degeneration. The good news is in most cases catching these early will mean being able to ward off vision loss and continued ocular irritation. On the other hand, this means that if you have hit the big Four-Oh, or you are older than that you need to start having your eyes checked regularly and to pay close attention to any symptoms and be proactive when they develop.
Health History and Complications Leading to Vision Issues
You also need to be aware of your family and personal medical history, knowing that there are some people that are at much higher risk of eye disease. According to the American Optometric Association:
Adults over 40 who have the following health or work issues may be particularly at risk for developing eye and vision problems:
- Chronic, systemic conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
- A family history of glaucoma or macular degeneration.
- A highly visually demanding job or work in an eye-hazardous occupation.
- Health conditions related to high cholesterol, thyroid, anxiety or depression, and arthritis for which you take medications. Many medications, even antihistamines, have vision side effects.
Just like your body, your eyes and vision change over time. While not everyone will experience the same symptoms, the following are common age-related vision changes:
- Need for more light. As you age, you need more light to see as well as you used to. Brighter lights in your work area or next to your reading chair will help make reading and other close-up tasks easier.
- Difficulty reading and doing close work. Printed materials can become less clear, in part because the lens in your eye becomes less flexible over time. This makes it harder for your eyes to focus on near objects than when you were younger.
- Problems with glare. When driving, you may notice additional glare from headlights at night or sun reflecting off windshields or pavement during the day. Changes in the lenses of your eyes cause light entering the eye to be scattered rather than focused precisely on the retina. This creates more glare.
- Changes in color perception. The normally clear lens located inside your eye may start to discolor. This makes it harder to see and distinguish between certain color shades.
- Reduced tear production. With age, the tear glands in your eyes will produce fewer tears. This is particularly true for women experiencing hormone changes. As a result, your eyes may feel dry and irritated. Having an adequate amount of tears is essential for keeping your eyes healthy and for maintaining clear sight.
Preventing Eye Issues
Understand that this is all a natural part of the aging process. There are some things that you can do to help prevent some of these impacts. Included are eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, taking screen time breaks, staying hydrated, protecting your eyes from UV radiation, and maintaining a good ocular hygiene routine. Hygiene can help you control, and even eliminate much of the irritation that your eyes may suffer as you get older.
Warning Signs of Eye Issues
Irritation in older adults can be for a number of reasons that include: Age Related Macular Degeneration; Cataracts; Conjunctivitis; Dry Eyes; Eyelid Problems; Floaters; Giant Cell Arteritis; Glaucoma; Hypertensive Retinopathy; Low Vision; Presbyopia; and Retinal Detachment. If you feel like a dark curtain has come across your view you may be suffering from retinal detachment. This happens when the retina literally separates from the blood vessels that supply it with nourishment. This can cause permanent vision loss if it is not treated within hours.
Other major warning signs for age-related eye issues that indicate a medical emergency include:
- Sudden pain in your eyes accompanied by redness, nausea, and vomiting. This can mean that you have narrow-angle glaucoma, which is a medical emergency and can lead to permanent optic nerve damage if it is not immediately treated.
- You begin to have double vision or see ‘ghost’ images. This may mean that you have had a stroke. If the onset is sudden it can be an emergency situation.
- Going from clear to blurry vision in one eye suddenly may be an indication that you are developing a macular hole in the retina. This can worsen and lead to permanent vision loss if not diagnosed and treated quickly.
Treating Age Related Eye Issues
If you find yourself developing red, irritated, itchy, scratchy, or gunk-filled eyes, there are a variety of problems you may be facing. Typically this is not a medical emergency, but it is still worth seeking eye care as soon as possible – since some diseases and disorders that can cause these symptoms can be chronic and worsen, and others are contagious. Dry eye syndrome, for example, can cause this and does require medical intervention. You would want to know if what you are suffering is conjunctivitis, which may be contagious or may be caused by seasonal allergies. Blepharitis can be caused by Demodex mites which are microscopic parasites that live in the follicles and oil glands of human eyelashes and can cause significant ocular complications. In addition to visiting your eye care health professional to verify what is causing these symptoms, you can deep clean your eyelids and eyelashes with Cliradex. Cliradex is a natural, 100% vegan and preservative free eye cleanser that is formulated to create a calming sensation and kill Demodex mites. In fact, it is the doctor recommended protocol. Cliradex Light is gentle enough to be used as a daily hygiene tool to leave the skin firm and tight and restore wellness.