As we age, our eyes age with us. This can bring a number of sight issues to the fore. Luckily, however, there are options available to correct such vision problems.
Dr Ella G. Faktorovich addressed the issue in the San Francisco Chronicle recently. She explained how the lenses inside the eyes become more rigid as they grow older and how this can make it difficult to look at things up close, making reading harder than it was before.
Surgery is not necessary. Dr Faktorovich explained that people can wear contact lenses to solve this problem, wether monovision or bifocal ones. Monovision contact lenses involve wearing one lens for distance viewing and one for focusing on things up close.
However, you may also be able to have your eyes" natural lenses replaced in a refractive lens exchange procedure, correcting near and far focusing.
It is known that dry eyes become more likely as one grows older. NHS Direct gives information on this, explaining that, while it is a common ailment, people over 60 are more likely to develop it. Furthermore, women are more susceptible to it than men.
The complaint can vary in its severity. While it does not usually cause serious harm, NHS Direct warns that it is possible to suffer eye scarring if the case is extremely bad and is not treated. Dry eyes cannot be cured but they can be relieved through the use of drops. It may even be possible that surgery is needed, but this is unusual.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is another issue. The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) notes that while it is a common cause of sight loss, it is very rare that it leads to total blindness.
Although it is an age-related ailment, there are still measures one can take to protect against it. The RNIB explains that several studies have suggested it is linked to smoking, too much exposure to the sun and poor nutrition.
In addition, women are more likely to suffer from it and it seems that it may also be genetically inherited.
Glaucoma is another condition to watch out for.
The International Glaucoma Association (IGA) says that around two per cent of people over 40 suffer from it in some form and that children and younger people can get it, though it is more likely to occur in older people.
In addition, the IGA explains that glaucoma is at least partly responsible for 13 per cent of people who are registered blind in England and Wales as well as being the greatest reason for preventable blindness within the UK.
Early detection can be crucial to identifying it before it becomes too serious.
Having regular eye tests is an important aspect of eye healthcare, regardless of one"s age.
According to the RNIB"s poll of 5,000 people over 60, 47 per cent were not having their eyes tested every year. This increases the risks of their developing age-related eye conditions without realising it until it is too late.
Barbara McLaughlan, author of the report, urged people not to wait for symptoms to appear before they go for tests and stated: "Age is the highest risk factor in developing some of the most common eye conditions (AMD, glaucoma and cataracts) that can lead to blindness.
"By the time we"re 60, one in 12 of us will have developed a sight problem, by the time we are 75 it is as many as one in six."
by Adrian Galbreth