It’s true that we are all getting older. Time marches on and every year brings a new birthday. While we enjoy life, we also notice that each year tends to bring new aches and pains. As the body ages, so do the eyes, and it’s important to realize that the aging eye changes vision. How can you tell the difference between aging of the eye and eye disease? It’s important to know the difference so that you can seek treatment quickly.
The aging of the eye happens gradually over many decades. You may notice that you need glasses to read, or you are more sensitive to oncoming headlights when driving at night. Glare may decrease your ability to read and you may find it difficult to see when entering a dark room from the sunshine outside. These are the normal symptoms of aging of the eye, called presbyopia.
As you age you may also experience “dry eye”, a condition that occurs when the tear ducts stop producing the amount of tears necessary to keep the eyes moist. Working at a computer screen for long periods of time and wearing contact lenses can make dry eye worse. Eye drops will help your eyes to feel better.
Eye diseases cause different symptoms. Cataracts, glaucoma and age-related degeneration all impair the vision. These diseases develop slowly over time but you may notice vision loss suddenly. Many of these diseases have no symptoms in the early stages.
Glaucoma: This disease gradually reduces your peripheral vision. It has no early symptoms and therefore is called the “Silent Thief of Sight”. Glaucoma is one of the most common chronic eye diseases for seniors and is the leading cause of blindness for those over the age of 64. Half the people with glaucoma do not know they have it.
Cataracts: Cataracts cause cloudy vision as the lens of the eye begins to harden. Cataract surgery removes the old lens and inserts an artificial lends to restore vision.
Age-related Macular Degeneration: This disease causes loss of center vision that is required to see things that are straight ahead. There are no symptoms in the early stage of the disease. However, in the intermediate and late stages of the disease there is vision loss.
Diabetic retinopathy: Diabetics may begin to experience vision impairment due to this disease. It is a result of diabetes and is caused when blood vessels in the retina change.
Many of these diseases, like age-related macular degeneration, cause irreversible damage and vision loss. That is where low vision specialists come in. Specialists in low vision conduct a comprehensive, specialized exam to determine what level of vision remains. Then they use innovative medical devices to enhance functional vision. It allows people with low vision to live normal daily lives.
Many of our low vision patients have been told that nothing more can be done to enhance their vision. We disagree. If you have been told that nothing more can be done to enhance your low vision, see us. We specialize in improving functional vision for patients who have been told exactly that. Our advanced medical devices help those suffering with age-related vision loss to read, drive and enjoy hobbies once again. Call us to schedule a consultation. We believe in life after vision loss and we can help you.