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Posted on 07-10-2017

Although our bodies are impressively built machines, they unfortunately are not immune to aging. This reality is now being recognized by an increasingly large portion of baby boomers as they find themselves not seeing as well as they once did.

Cataract

is a clouding of the eye’s naturally clear lens. Most cataracts appear with advancing age, but they can be caused by smoking, diabetes, excessive exposure to sunlight, and medications. They currently affect nearly 20.5 million Americans age 40 and older. Common symptoms are:

  • Blurred or hazy vision
  • Reduced intensity of colors
  • Increased sensitivity to glare from lights, particularly when driving at night
  • Increased difficulty seeing at night

Presbyopia

Presbyopia is a progressive condition that makes reading and doing close work increasingly difficult. For people in their 40’s and early 50’s, it’s often the first sign of aging. Even those with perfect eyesight may find they can no longer read books and printed materials at normal distances. Glasses and bifocals can be prescribed to help you adapt to the changes. Common symptoms are:

  • A tendency to hold reading material farther away to make the letters clearer
  • Blurred vision at normal reading distance
  • Eyestrain or headaches after reading or doing close work

Macular degeneration

is the leading cause of severe vision loss in adults over age 50. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 1.8 million people have AMD and another 7.3 million are at substantial risk for vision loss from AMD. This eye disease occurs when there are changes to the macula, a small portion of the retina that is located on the inside back layer of the eye. AMD is a loss of central vision that can occur in two forms: “dry” or atrophic and “wet” or exudative. Common symptoms are:

  • Gradual loss of ability to see objects clearly
  • Objects appear distorted in shape. Straight lines look wavy or crooked.
  • Loss of clear color vision
  • A dark or empty area appears in the center of vision.

Dry eye

is a condition in which there are insufficient tears to lubricate and nourish the eye. Tears are necessary for maintaining the health of the front surface of the eye and for providing clear vision. People with dry eyes either do not produce enough tears or have a poor quality of tears. Dry eye is a common and often chronic problem, particularly in older adults. Common symptoms are:

  • Stinging or burning of the eye.
  • A sandy or gritty feeling as if something is in the eye.
  • Episodes of excess tears following very dry eye periods.
  • Fluctuation in vision.

Glaucoma

is a group of eye diseases that cause progressive damage to the optic nerve, and is characterized by death of nerve tissue resulting in loss of peripheral vision. The most common form of glaucoma, primary open-angle glaucoma, is associated with an increase in the fluid pressure inside the eye. Advanced glaucoma can cause blindness. Primary open-angle glaucoma, develops slowly and usually without any symptoms. Many people do not become aware they have the condition until significant vision loss has occurred.

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