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Major age-related eye diseases

Your eye doctor may suggest using a humidifier in your home or special eye drops that simulate real tears.

Surgery may be needed in more serious cases of dry eyes. Tearing , or having too many tears, can come from being sensitive to light, wind, or temperature changes. Protecting your eyes by shielding them or wearing sunglasses can sometimes solve the problem.

Tearing may also mean that you have a more serious problem, such as an eye infection or a blocked tear duct. In addition, people with dry eyes may tear excessively because dry eyes are easily irritated. Your eye doctor can treat or correct both of these conditions. Eye diseases and disorders common in aging adults Cataracts are cloudy areas that develop in the lens in the front of the eye. The eye lens is clear like a camera lens. Cataracts keep light from easily passing through the lens to the back of the eye the retina , causing the loss of eyesight. Cataracts usually form slowly, causing no pain, redness, or tearing in the eye.

Some stay small and do not alter eyesight. If they become large or thick and have a significant impact on vision they can almost always be removed with surgery. Cataract surgery is very safe and is one of the most common surgeries done in the United States and around the world. During surgery, the doctor takes out the clouded lens and, in most cases, puts in a clear plastic lens, restoring normal sight if the eye is otherwise healthy.

Glaucoma is usually related to increased pressure inside the eye.

If it is not treated, this condition can lead to permanent vision loss and blindness. Heredity is a significant risk factor for glaucoma, as is age, race, diabetes, and some medications. Glaucoma is less commonly caused by other factors such as a blunt object or chemical injury to the eye, severe eye infection, blockage of blood vessels, inflammatory disorders of the eye, and occasionally by corrective eye surgery.

Most people with glaucoma have no early symptoms or pain from increased pressure. To detect glaucoma, the eye doctor will examine your eyes to assess the appearance of the optic nerve, measure the eye pressure and test the visual field. Also some people can have damage to the eye from glaucoma, even with normal pressure in the eye. Treatment may include prescription eye drops, oral medications, laser treatment, or surgery. Retinal disorders are a leading cause of blindness in the United States and in other developed countries.

The retina is a thin lining on the back of the eye made up of cells that detect visual images and pass them on to the brain. Retinal disorders interrupt this transfer of images.

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Common ones include age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and retinal detachment. Age-related macular degeneration AMD. The macula is the small central portion of the retina containing millions of nerve cells cones that are sensitive to light. This area of the retina is responsible for detailed vision, such as facial recognition and reading.

AMD is characterized by the loss of cells in this area causing blurred central vision. It contributes to vision loss but does not cause total blindness.

If advanced, there is no cure but in early stages there is benefit from nutritional supplements. People with the more severe type of AMD may benefit from laser or injection of medication. Diabetic retinopathy. This disorder is a complication of diabetes.


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If you have early-stage diabetic eye disease, you will be asked to control your blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Advanced stages require laser treatment and vitrectomy surgery. Glaucoma is a collective term for a group of related eye disorders that damages the optic nerve — responsible for transmitting information from the eye to the brain.

From Blurred Vision to Presbyopia: How Eyes Change With Age

Glaucoma can either be open-angle or narrow-angle. Often, open-angle glaucoma has no symptoms and vision stays normal. The majority of glaucoma cases involves higher-than-normal pressure levels inside the eye resulting in peripheral vision loss. Trouble seeing in dim light and difficulties navigating while walking are late symptoms of peripheral vision loss.

Glaucoma is diagnosed through a comprehensive dilated exam. Treatment is often aimed at reducing the amount of fluid produced by the eye or increasing the amount of fluid that drains from the eye.

Age-Related Vision Changes

Glaucoma surgery may be recommended to increase drainage flow. Besides aging, glaucoma risk is high among African-Americans and people with a family history of glaucoma.

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This lack of moisture and lubrication is often a result of the following:. Underlying causes and symptoms of dry eye syndrome can vary.

Vision Problems in the Elderly

The following are the most common symptoms:. Dry eye management and treatment options include eye drops that provide relief, medications to reduce inflammation, dietary changes, lid hygiene, and in-office procedures. People with eye disease symptoms due to advancing age are more likely to have low vision. As a teen, our vision generally remains quite good. However, participating in competitive sports and having active lifestyles can be why some start to wear contact lenses.

With this comes all the commensurate risks and expenses of contacts. In our 20s and 30s, our vision is almost always stable enough to benefit from corrective eye surgery. Deciding at an early age to have a life without glasses and contacts is often a very economical decision, allowing us to benefit from a lifetime of clear vision. As we start to get older, our eyes start to get drier. This makes contact lenses less comfortable to wear. Also during this time, our natural lens begins to get more rigid and less able to help focus our vision.

The need for reading glasses becomes apparent, as things at a near distance start to become blurry. As we continue to age, we start to notice changes in both the type of eyeglasses we need bifocals, reading glasses, etc.