Not many health insurance plans provide benefits for vision care, which is why not many people have their recommended annual eye exams. As you age your body changes, and your vision changes more after the age of 40. If you are noticing signs that your vision is not as great as it used to be, you are not alone. It is very common for people over the age of 40 to have a harder time seeing.
If you are having a hard time seeing close-up, distinguishing colors from one another, or difficulties adjusting to glare, those are all normal signs of aging. As you get older the muscles in the eye begin to atrophy, making your vision not so “crisp” anymore. Additionally, your risk for developing age-related conditions and diseases increases. Things like cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic eye disease, dry eyes and low vision are all conditions that older individuals are at higher risk of developing.
That is why it is so important for you to get regular eye exams in Winnipeg, especially after the age of 50. A comprehensive dilated eye exam might not be that comfortable, and sometimes it can be expensive — but it’s not as costly as losing your vision. Many of the eye diseases associated with advancing age have early warning signs that can help people save their vision.
Who is at greatest risk for age-related eye disease?
Those who are at the highest risk are people with family history of eye disease. Diseases like age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma are hereditary. If you know that you have immediate family members who have been diagnosed with those conditions, it is even more critical to have your eyes examined regularly.
Other factors that increase your likelihood of developing age-related eye diseases are things like high blood pressure and diabetes, or having a job where you sit in front of a computer screen all day. There are also some medications that can affect your vision that you might not even be aware of.
According to statistics released by the National Eye Institute, age-related macular degeneration in people over the age of 50 is the most common eye disease. This condition impacts the macula of the eye, which is located at the center of your retina. The macula is the mechanism that is responsible for keeping your vision clear and crisp. As the disease progresses, being able to see clearly becomes much more difficult, and you will notice that things become “blurry.”
There are two types of age-related macular degeneration: “dry” and “wet.” “Dry” age-related macular degeneration still has no identifiable cause. “Wet” age-related macular degeneration is caused by a broken or bleeding blood vessel underneath the retina. The broken vessel pushes up on the macula and damages it. The wet type can lead to severe vision loss. The good news is that if it is caught in time, there are treatment options for wet age-related macular degeneration.
So how can you prevent age-related eye disease?
There are things that you can do to minimize your risk of developing age-related eye diseases. One critical thing to keep your vision healthy is to stop smoking. Also, eat a diet that is rich in leafy greens and vegetables, as well as fish. Taking supplements of Lutein, copper, zinc and Vitamin C may also help to reduce the risk of developing age-related eye issues.
It is also important to wear eyeglasses if needed in order to minimize strain, and to wear sunglasses outdoors to prevent UVA and UVB ray exposure. Most importantly, however, have your eyes examined yearly to ensure that there aren’t any early warning signs of disease. Also, if you notice a swift change in your vision, don’t discount it as just a symptom of getting older. Gradual changes are normal, but any immediate change to your vision should be examined immediately.
As you age, it is not uncommon for your sight to diminish. The good news is that the damage can be reduced if you take the proper care to eat well, get the right nutrients, see an eye doctor regularly, and notice any visual changes that might be your eyes’ way of telling you something is wrong.