As we age, a lot of things happen to our bodies. Just like our cars might need a little more maintenance as they get more mileage on them, the same holds true for us. And like our vehicles, that doesn’t mean they don’t still do the job and get us where we’re going; they just need a little extra care.
Our vision is no exception. If you wear glasses or contacts, chances are you have developed the good habit of getting an annual eye exam. But if you aren’t in the habit of getting an annual exam, as you get to age 60 it’s important to make this a regular occurrence. Why?
There are a number of age-related eye health problems that could go so far as to cause vision loss. These conditions can develop painlessly and without warning. An annual eye exam is important in finding these types of conditions early, which is key to making sure your vision stays strong and healthy.
These are some of the conditions that can affect older adults, but are treatable if caught early:
- Dry eye is just what it says. The eyes do not produce sufficient or high-quality tears needed to nourish and lubricate.
- Glaucoma involves increased pressure on the eyeball itself, which can damage the optic nerve and cause partial or even full vision loss if untreated. It’s particularly dangerous for individuals with a family history of the disease, older adults and African Americans.
- Age-related macular degeneration affects the center of the retina at the back of the eye and can cause a lack of central vision while retaining peripheral vision.
- Cataracts are a clouding of the normally clear lens of the eye and affects vision as you might imagine what it’s like looking through a fogged up window. The good news is that they can be treated and new advancements are being explored every day.
An annual eye exam, in conjunction with regular physical exams, are both important to help make sure your senior years are as enjoyable as possible. Some health conditions, such as diabetes, can also affect eyesight. Any of these conditions caught early, though, make a full recovery much more likely. So this August, let’s use Senior Eye Health Month as a reminder to make an appointment to get those eyes checked!