As we age, a lot can go wrong. Yet there are many aspects of our health and wellbeing that can be mainly under our control. One of them is our vision. After the age of 50, therefore, it’s critical that we take extra care of this precious sense. The key to preserving our eyesight is to be aware of the various conditions that could affect us as we grow older. Therefore, make sure to get regular vision checkups, maintain a healthy weight, be physically active, keep your blood pressure in check and make smart food choices.
Perhaps the most notable and most common occurrence affecting our eyesight as we age is something called, presbyopia. This almost unpronounceable word is the medical term for the inability to read small print. The remedy for this annoying malady can be as easy as purchasing a pair of drugstore readers. Without that extra help, you may notice your eyes becoming strained and tired more easily.
Cataracts are another common sign of growing older. Around the age of 40, cloudy formations begin forming on the lens of your eye from proteins breaking down and clumping together. You might notice this because your vision becomes blurry or clouded and colors seem faded and less distinct. If you notice these signs, be sure to alert your physician or ophthalmologist. Outpatient surgery is generally the way to remove this cloudiness and restore your vision.
Another vision issue that’s relatively common in seniors is glaucoma. Glaucoma occurs when too much fluid pressure builds up inside of the eye. In the early stages, glaucoma isn’t painful nor would you experience the same telltale signs as a cataract would present. However, you do want to schedule regular trips to the eye doctor after the age of 50 because untreated glaucoma can lead to blindness. Most often, the treatment consists of using prescription eye drops specially formulated to reduce the pressure.
Age-related macular degeneration is a condition you’ll want to handle as soon as possible. Whereas glaucoma can affect your peripheral vision, AMD affects your central vision. Therefore daily activities like reading, driving, cooking, watching TV, etc. can be compromised. Your doctor can check for AMD as part of a comprehensive dilated eye exam. And, again, early detection and treatment are the best ways to halt the progression and keep your eyesight sharp.
The National Institute on Aging has several pages of information and resources covering both the risks to our vision as we age and the care of our eyesight. I recommend you start with this general page, Aging and Your Eyes, and then link to additional resources affiliated with the symptoms you may be experiencing.
Your golden years can become some of the best and most fulfilling in your life. But your health is a major factor in how well you will age. So make your health a priority! What’s good for your eyes is good for your heart, and what’s good for your heart is good for your brain, etc. etc. etc. With a few good habits, you should enjoy the years past 50 with robust health and a happy heart. And that just might make the phrase, “seeing is believing” very special in your life!