As people age, they naturally face vision problems they never had to worry about. Even if you didn’t wear glasses your entire life, once you cross into the senior years, you might need to. Unlike the aches and pains of other conditions with aging, vision loss can happen painlessly and without you noticing until it gets serious.
The American Optometric Association recommends regular eye exams to make sure your eyes are in good health as you get older. Everyone over 50 should have a comprehensive dilated eye exam that doesn’t just look at your vision, but at the health of your eyes. Many of the conditions while not curable, can be prevented or have their progress slowed with treatments.
Although people of all ages can develop these conditions, they are more prevalent among older adults. Here are three eye diseases of the aging and how they are treated.
Cataracts occur when the normally clear lens becomes cloudy due to a buildup of protein. There is no cure for cataracts, but they can be treated with surgery.
Here’s what vision with cataracts looks like.
Macular degeneration happens when the macula, which helps process fine details in vision and central vision, becomes damaged over time. While there is no cure, the treatment for macular degeneration is to use antibodies to help prevent leaky blood vessels in the eye.
Here’s what vision with macular degeneration looks like.
Glaucoma is now thought of as a neurological disorder rather than just an eye issue. With the disease, nerve cells in the brain die, leading to increased pressure in the eye. It is more prevalent in people over 45, those with a family history, diabetes, low blood pressure, and people who are African American or Hispanic. Glaucoma can develop slowly, with the loss of peripheral vision first and then central vision. It is treated with eyedrops to lower eye pressure, and surgery might be needed.
Here’s what vision with glaucoma looks like.