Presbyopia, glaucoma, dry eyes, age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and temporal arteritis are all common age-related eye problems. Maintaining regular eye doctor appointments is especially important if you have diabetes.
What effects does ageing have on your eyes?
Age can cause changes in your vision and eyes, but there are things you can do to maintain lifelong eye and overall health. The solution could be as simple as using brighter lights around the house to help prevent accidents caused by poor vision, or it could be as complex as seeing your doctor more frequently to screen for age-related diseases.
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How can you aid in the prevention of age-related eye problems?
While eye problems and diseases become more common with age, many of them can be avoided or corrected if you:
Consult your family physician regularly to rule out diseases that could cause vision problems, such as diabetes.
Every year, see your ophthalmologist or optometrist. A comprehensive eye exam with an eye doctor is essential because most eye diseases can be treated if detected early. The eye doctor can dilate or enlarge your eyes by putting drops in your eyes. The doctor will also examine your eyes and look for signs of glaucoma.
If you have diabetes or a family history of eye disease, you should have an eye exam with pupil dilation at least once a year. If you have a sudden loss of vision, blurred vision, eye pain, double vision, redness, swelling of your eye or eyelid, or discharge coming from your eye, see an eye doctor immediately.
What are some of the most common eye problems associated with ageing?
These are some of the more common eye problems as people get older, but they can affect anyone at any age. You can reduce discomfort and improve your vision no matter how old (or young) you are.
Presbyopia is the loss of vision in close objects or small print. Presbyopia is a natural process that occurs gradually over a lifetime. You may notice the difference once you are in your forties or fifties. Presbyopia patients frequently hold reading materials at arm’s length. Some people experience headaches or “tired eyes” when they read or do other close work. If you have presbyopia, you can improve your vision with reading glasses or multifocal (bifocal) lenses.
Flashers and floaters
Floaters are tiny spots or specks that move across your vision. Most people notice them in well-lit rooms or on a bright day outside. Floaters are frequently normal but can occasionally indicate eye problems such as retinal detachment, particularly if light flashes accompany them. If you notice a sudden change in the type or number of spots or flashes, consult your eye doctor immediately.
Wet eyes (also called keratoconjunctivitis sicca)
Dry eyes occur when the tear glands cannot produce enough or poor-quality tears. Dry eyes can be painful, causing itching, burning, and even vision loss. Your doctor may advise you to use a humidifier in your home or special eye drops that mimic real tears. In more severe cases of dry eyes, surgery may be required.
Tearing (watery eyes, also called epiphora) (watery eyes, also called epiphora)
Tearing, or having too many tears, can result from being sensitive to changes in light, wind, or temperature. Sometimes simply shielding your eyes or wearing sunglasses can solve the problem. Tearing could also indicate a more serious issue, such as an eye infection or a blocked tear duct. Furthermore, because dry eyes are easily irritated, people with dry eyes may tear excessively. Both of these conditions can be treated or corrected by your eye doctor.
Eye diseases and disorders are common in the elderly.
What exactly are cataracts?
Cataracts are cloudy areas in front of the eye’s lens. The lens of the eye is normally clear, like a camera lens. Cataracts prevent light from easily passing through the lens to the retina at the back of the eye, resulting in blurry vision. Cataracts typically develop slowly, with no eye pain, redness, or tearing. Some remain small and do not affect vision. If they grow large or thick and interfere with vision, they can almost always be removed surgically.
Cataract surgery is one of the most common surgeries in the United States and worldwide. During surgery, the clouded lens is removed, and, in most cases, a clear plastic lens is implanted, restoring normal vision if the eye is otherwise healthy.
What exactly is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is commonly associated with increased intraocular pressure. Left untreated, this condition can result in permanent vision loss and blindness, even with no symptoms. Glaucoma risk factors include heredity, age, race, diabetes, and some medications. Other causes of glaucoma include a blunt object or chemical injury to the eye, severe eye infection, blood vessel blockage, inflammatory disorders of the eye, and, in rare cases, corrective eye surgery. Most people with glaucoma experience no early symptoms or pain from increased pressure.
Your provider will examine your eyes to assess the appearance of the optic nerve, measure your eye pressure, and test your visual field to detect glaucoma. Even with normal eye pressure, some people can have glaucoma-related eye damage. Prescription eye drops, oral medications, laser treatment, or surgery may be used to treat the condition.
What are the most common retinal disorders?
In the United States and other developed countries, retinal disorders are the leading cause of blindness. The retina is a thin lining on the back of the eye made up of cells that detect and transmit visual images to the brain. Retinal disorders disrupt this image transfer. Age-related macular degeneration, diabetes-related retinopathy, and retinal detachment are all common.
Macular degeneration as we age (AMD)
The macula is the small retina’s central portion that contains millions of light-sensitive nerve cells (cones). This section of the retina is in charge of good vision, such as facial recognition and reading. AMD is characterized by cell loss in this area, resulting in blurred or distorted central vision. It causes vision loss but does not result in total blindness. There is no cure for advanced cancer, but nutritional supplements can help in the early stages. People with advanced AMD may benefit from laser therapy or medication injections.
Retinopathy caused by diabetes
Diabetes is a complication of this disorder. It happens when small blood vessels stop properly feeding the retina. The blood vessels in the early stages of diabetes-related retinopathy may leak fluid, causing blurred vision or no symptoms. You may notice floaters, blind spots, or cloudiness of vision as the disease progresses. New blood vessels may form and bleed into the eye’s centre, resulting in severe vision loss or blindness.
Drug injections and laser treatment for diabetic retinal swelling may improve or preserve vision. Laser treatment can prevent blindness in the most advanced cases. Every year, people with diabetes should have an eye exam with pupil dilation. Importantly, good blood sugar control reduces the risk of diabetes-related retinopathy significantly.
Detachment of the retina
When the inner and outer layers of the retina separate, this is referred to as retinal detachment. The eye cannot communicate with the brain without a retina, making vision impossible. Retinal detachment symptoms include:
Spots or flashes of light appear unexpectedly.
The vision is wavy as if you are underwater.
Anywhere in your field of vision, there is a dark shadow.
Doctors can often reattach the retina and restore all or part of your vision with surgery or laser treatment.
Conjunctivitis is also known as “pink eye” or “red eye.” When the tissue that lines the eyelids and covers the sclera becomes inflamed, it causes this condition. It can cause redness, itching, burning, tearing, or the sensation that something is in your eye. Conjunctivitis affects people of all ages and can be caused by infection, chemical and irritant exposure, or allergies. Pink eye from a bacterial or viral infection is extremely contagious.
Corneal diseases and conditions can result in redness, watery eyes, pain, decreased vision, or a halo effect. The cornea is the transparent, dome-shaped “window” in front of the eye. It aids in the focus of light that enters the eye. The cornea can be damaged by disease, infection, injury, toxic agents, and other factors. Your doctor may advise you to use medicated eye drops. Surgery may be required for some corneal diseases.
Eyelid problems can occur as a result of a variety of diseases or conditions. The eyelids shield the eye, distribute tears, and regulate the light that enters the eye. Eyelid problems are commonly characterized by pain, itching, tearing, and sensitivity to light. Other issues that may arise include drooping eyelids (ptosis), blinking spasms (blepharospasm), and inflamed eyelids near the eyelashes (blepharitis). Medication or surgery is frequently used to treat eyelid problems.
Arteritis of the temporal lobe
Temporal arteritis causes inflammation and possibly occlusion of the arteries in the temple area of the forehead and other areas of the body. It can start with a severe headache, chewing pain, and tenderness around the temples. You may experience persistent fever, shoulder or hip weakness, and scalp tenderness. It is sometimes followed by a sudden loss of vision, which is usually permanent. It is more common in elderly females. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your doctor right away.
What are assistive devices available to help with vision loss?
If you have difficulty seeing despite wearing glasses, low-vision aids may be beneficial. These are special devices that are more powerful than ordinary eyeglasses. Some people with low vision can significantly improve their vision using these devices.
Low vision aids include the following:
Magnifying glasses are available.
Electronic devices that you can hold or place directly on your reading material. E-books, iPads®, and other similar electronic devices can frequently be configured to provide large dark fonts, which benefits many patients with moderate impairments.
A message from the Cleveland Clinic
Whether you have an age-related vision condition or not, there are simple things you can do to improve your vision and keep your eyes healthy. See your eye doctor for comprehensive eye exams regularly, and take extra precautions if you have diabetes or a family history of eye disease.
After studying Module 5: Lecture Materials & Resources, discuss the following:
Define presbycusis, name signs and symptoms, etiology and differential diagnosis.
Create 3 interventions-education measures with a patient with Presbycusis.
List, define and elaborate on three different retinal and macular diseases age-related.
Your initial post should be at least 500 words, formatted and cited in current APA style with support from at least 2 academic sources.
Read and watch the lecture resources & materials below early in the week to help you respond to the discussion questions and to complete your assignment(s).