How To Care For Your Eyes As You Age

Eye HealthIt’s no secret that our eyes tend to give us more trouble the older we get. However, there are certain measures a person can take to improve eye health and slow the effects of aging.

Proper eye care during your 30s-50s can pay off with better eyesight in your older years.

Good Eye Health Today Means Better Vision Tomorrow

1 – Get regular eye checkups

Long term eye disorders can often show telltale signs early on. Diseases like glaucoma can be caught in early stages and controlled with medication, before causing severe eye damage.

2 – Control your blood pressure and\or diabetes

Diabetes and high blood pressure are two of the most common medical problems among older people, and they’re also two of the worst conditions for eye health. Chronic high blood pressure or poorly managed diabetes can cause irreversible harm to your eyes.

3 – Rest your eyes more

Those with jobs requiring low levels of light, or close up detail work, often face worse vision in older age. Don’t ignore pain or fatigue in your eyes. If you feel as if you’re straining your eyes, take a break every now and then to let them rest.

Similarly, try to avoid using out-of-date lenses if you can. In terms of putting additional strain on your eyes, an improper lens prescription can almost do as much harm as no prescription at all.

4 – Ask your doctor about medication’s side effects on your eyes

As you age, you may end up taking more medicines. Unfortunately, even common medications such as antihistamines can cause eye problems, or interact with other medications. Keep your regular doctor updated on your eye health, and be sure to ask if any new prescriptions might effect your eyes.

You Determine Your Future Eye Health

Choices you make today can have an impact on your eye’s health decades from now. With proper eye care and regular visits to your optometrist, you can ensure healthy vision for plenty of years to come. Schedule an appointment with your Phoenix optometrist today.

Vision After 40: What To Expect

Phoenix OptometristAsk any Phoenix optometrist and they’ll tell you the same story: With a few lucky exceptions, nearly everyone’s eyesight will slowly get worse over time. Changes in the body as it ages can cause the eyes to change, and even minor alterations to the eyeball’s shape will cause big shifts in vision.

While proper eye care in youth can help stave off or slow down the progressive effects, nothing can truly halt the aging process of the eyes. As someone passes 40, they’re likely to start experiencing new vision problems.

If you’re nearing this critical period of your life, here are a few things you should know about your vision as you age.

Quick Notes On Middle-Age Vision Problems From Your Phoenix Optometrist

1 – Reduced Near Vision

A person is much more likely to lose close-up vision as the years pass and their eyes slowly change shape. There’s really not much that can be done other than transitioning into reading glasses and/or bifocals.

For this reason, regular eye exams become more important after 40 – your eyesight can, and most likely will, start requiring higher-powered lenses.

2 – Menopause

Obviously this is just for the ladies. Menopause will almost certainly bring on new vision challenges. Any “bloating” or water-retention will affect the eyes, and cause them to lose focus. It is also fairly common for post-menopausal women to have issues with dry eyes.

3 – Diabetic Conditions

Diabetes is the #1 cause of degenerative vision problems later in life, and it can contribute to both glaucoma and macular degeneration. If you have a history of diabetes in your family it is important to mention it to your Phoenix optometrist, even if you haven’t been diagnosed yourself.

Eye conditions can, in fact, be early warning signs of late-onset diabetes.

4 – Pharmaceutical Side-Effects

Finally, here’s something to keep in mind that is often overlooked: Many of the common pharmaceuticals prescribed to middle-aged patients can have ocular side-effects. Medications for blood pressure, depression or anxiety, thyroid conditions, or even arthritis can subtly affect your eyes.

If you notice vision problems after beginning a new medication, be sure to tell your doctor or optometrist as soon as possible.

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Eye Health Tips for Post 60’s

Growing older is unavoidable, and certainly full of twists and turns. Your eyes are just one set of the many body parts that change as you age. Here’s how to properly care for your eye health after passing your sixtieth year and beyond!

Regular Eye Exams

Older adults are at risk for many more eye ailments, such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts, and for diabetic patients, retinopathy. Your optometrist is your first line of defense against these conditions, all of which can steal your vision alarmingly quickly. By adhering to a yearly exam schedule (at minimum), your eye doctor has a baseline of your eye health and can compare for subtle changes from year to year. Stopping these diseases in their early stages will help you keep more of your vision. Plus, your vision at older ages is likely to change so vision correction should be evaluated frequently.

Eye_Care_TipsBe Prepared and Realistic

As you grow older and possibly also develop cataracts, you may find that your night and low-light vision changes substantially. Eventually you may find that night driving becomes more challenging, so may need eyewear designed to amplify available light and color contrast, or know when it’s safer to have someone else drive in the dark. Even driving into shaded areas can be a difficult situation since your eyes do not react as quickly to changing light and may not be able to make out other vehicles or people.

Medical Care

Older adults commonly find that their medical health changes rapidly. It is critical that you communicate medical changes to your optometrist, including any new medications. Certain drugs and conditions have a major impact on your eyes and can significantly increase your risk of glaucoma and other eye health problems resulting in blindness.

Your sixties and beyond are a wonderful era of your life, but do take care to monitor your eye health and be conscious of any developing vision limitations. Ask your optometrist for information on life’s eyecare phases so you know what to expect.

Glare and Poor Night Vision

Have you ever driven at night and winced at the sight of oncoming headlights? Perhaps you have trouble walking through a dark house or seeing well while you drive down a dark street. Poor night vision and glare problems often go hand in hand, and can be difficult to live with.

Reasons for Poor Night Vision

Your diet, lifestyle, and age may all play a part in the quality of your night vision. Overexposure to sunlight is a key cause of poor night vision. Indoor tanning, a day at the beach, and even snow sports may have a lingering effect on your night vision. Diabetic patients suffer night vision loss due to high blood sugar damaging vessels and nerves within the eye. Another major cause of poor night vision is a deficiency of vitamin A or Zinc. This can be due to poor diet, or an medical condition that prevents proper absorption of the nutrients from your food. Last but not least is the formation of cataracts. The clouding or yellowing of your eye’s lens diminishes night vision substantially. Cataracts and diabetic damage have a gradual onset, which makes a yearly eye exam all the more important.

Poor night vision may possibly be improved with a healthy diet including leafy greens, vegetables, and lean proteins, management of diabetic conditions, and vision correction. Cataracts that are identified at your yearly eye exam should be evaluated and corrected when appropriate.

Coping with Glare

Glare is another very challenging vision issue to manage. First, beams of light bounce, then reflect from a source and then enter your eye, but instead of improving your vision it can cause a vision problem. Sunlight, reflections from shiny surfaces, and snow are all common sources of glare. Night driving is the most vulnerable activity for someone with a glare problem as oncoming headlights can blind you. New technology in manufacturing means that headlights are brighter, great for drivers but more hazardous for those with glare trouble. A good question to ask at your yearly eye exam is what techniques can protect you and other drivers from glare problems. Special lenses for your glasses, polarized sunglasses, clean windshields and anti-reflective car mirrors are all tools used to fight glare.

Poor night vision and problems with glare should be closely monitored by your Phoenix optometrist. Eat well, make sensible choices, and adhere strictly to a yearly eye exam schedule to ensure your continued safety and vision comfort.

 

Eye Health after 50

Getting older is like navigating through the Wild West. You’re not sure what will happen next, and the most unusual things occur when you are least prepared. Your eye care is no exception to this mysterious process, and your Phoenix doctor of optometry wants you to understand the eye care issues you may face after reaching the half-century mark.

Vision Changes

For most near- or farsighted people, your vision stabilizes in your twenties. After that, optometry exams will not result in very dramatic prescription changes unless you have a significant medical problem or injury. However, in your early fifties, you may notice that small print is very difficult to read. Your eye doctor may recommend reading glasses or bifocals to help. You may also notice that you need more light to see well, so make sure you use an adequate light source when reading to avoid eye strain.

Eye Disease

Three scary eye issues can arise as you age, and these are Cataracts, Age-Related Macular Degeneration, and Glaucoma. Cataracts develop when deposits on your eye’s lens lead to clouding or discoloration of the lens. Light cannot easily enter the eye and it may be difficult for you to see in low light situations or notice color contrast. Cataracts are very common and treatment is the surgical replacement of your eye’s lens. As a bonus, your near- or farsightedness is often significantly improved after cataract surgery.

Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a frightening disease so subtle that you may not notice vision loss until it is quite substantial. In AMD, deposits build up in the macula area of your retina. Since the macula is responsible for the central part of your vision, this part of your sight slowly begins to disappear. Vision loss from AMD is permanent.

Lastly, Glaucoma results when high eye pressure eventually damages the optic nerve, destroying your vision. Optometry patients with diabetes have almost double the risk for glaucoma and should be especially vigilant any time that they notice a change in their eye health. Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness, but can be prevented with special medication.

Many of the eye changes after 50 are painless and subtle, so it is critical to have an optometry exam every year. Your eye doctor can spot developing problems in the early stages and help you manage them effectively for continued years of healthy sight.

Vision Timeline – How your Vision Changes As you Age

Every day you may notice something different about yourself from the day before. The older you get, the more intriguing and mysterious the changes become, and your eyesight is no exception. Eye care professionals predict the following trends for your lifetime.

Your 20′s
During this time, your eyes are generally healthy. You may be exposed to greater risk of sports or work safety injuries, since you may be more likely to partake in risky behaviors now than when you are older. Vision changes such as near- or farsightedness may continue to progress, but at a slower rate.

Your 30′s
Your lifestyle now usually focuses more on health and wellness, an excellent prospect for your vision. Continue good eye care habits now, and be vigilant for eye strain and its effects if you are a computer user. Near and farsightedness will further stabilize. Since your lifestyle is still very active in this age range, commit to wearing UV-blocking sunglasses and focus on your wellness to prevent future issues like glaucoma and cataracts.

Your 40′s
Your forties bring about an interesting development called Presbyopia. Normal changes in how your eyes focus may require the wear of reading glasses, or you may need to hold reading material farther away to read clearly. Visit your eye care provider regularly, especially if you are diabetic, since your medical health may put you at increased risk for glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy that can steal your eyesight.

Your 50′s
During your fifties, you may notice an increase in your presbyopia, and you may now need two sets of corrective eyewear to manage your vision needs. All individuals, especially Post-menopausal women, may experience dry eyes, and diabetic patients may be at an even greater risk for eye disease now.

60 and Beyond
After 60, most people know that they will develop cataracts, which are very common and fairly easy to manage. One issue you may not be aware of is that your pupil size will start to shrink, which makes it more difficult to see in low-light or fluctuating light environments. Your peripheral vision will be reduced, and your color vision may change or decline. Your eye doctor can help you manage these issues through vision correction.

The aging process is definitely action-packed, even with regard to your vision. See your eye doctor at least once a year to keep your eyes in the best health possible.

 

Older Drivers and Night Vision – What You should Know

Aging is an exciting and mysterious process full of change. Your eyesight is just one of the many physical aspects that transforms with age, especially where your night vision is concerned. Understanding the effects of aging on your night vision can help you make safer driving decisions.

Cataracts

As you age your eyes can develop cataracts, which is a clouding of the lens. Cataracts dim your vision, especially in the dark. A patient with cataracts may feel like they are wearing sunglasses even during the day, and this effect is even worse at night. Cataracts can also cause a halo or glare around objects, making night driving quite dangerous. Your eye care professional can spot the early signs of cataracts during your annual eye exam, and develop a treatment plan that will fit your lifestyle.

Macular Degeneration

In Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), deposits can build up in the macula, the part of your retina responsible for the center part of your vision. The retina can become detached here, which  results in a missing spot in the central part of your vision. This can occur so gradually that you don’t notice your sight diminishing until the loss is advanced. This is another strong case for a yearly eye exam.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a condition where rising eye pressure damages the optic nerve. Since this occurs without pain or noticeable symptoms in its early stages, it can result in permanent blindness or very serious vision loss before the patient is aware of what is happening. A routine eye exam is your best chance in preventing the progression of glaucoma, especially for older Diabetic patients.

Natural Age-Related Eye Changes

The normal course of aging causes your pupils to shrink. The narrowed pupils allow less light to enter the eye and the patient again feels like they wearing sunglasses. Near or farsightedness may continue to get worse as you age, and you’ll find that you cannot as easily adapt to transitions from light to dark. Shadowy areas can nearly become blind spots as the eye cannot quickly adjust to low light, creating dangerous circumstances for night driving.

The best strategy to maintain excellent eye health as you age is to have a yearly eye exam. Your eye doctor will give you suggestions for safe night driving, plus can identify potential problems early on, helping you to retain your vision for many more years.

 

7 Warnings Signs for Vision Problems

Eye problems can strike at any age, with or without warning. Certain medical conditions can increase your risk of developing eye problems, but even healthy people are at risk for vision problems as they age. These warning signs should prompt you to schedule an immediate eye exam.

Increase in Floaters

“Floaters” are a normal occurrence caused by tiny particles of debris in the eye, passing through light. An increase in the quantity of floaters is a warning sign of a detached retina, requiring prompt attention.

Physical Eye Changes

White or cloudy spots over the pupil of your eye are one sign of a cataract. Surgical correction replaces the clouded lens with clear material, and may also improve your overall vision. Staying current with your eye exam schedule will help identify cataracts at an early stage.

Glare or Halo

Glare or halos can around light sources can make nighttime driving miserable. Cataracts could be the cause, but a rainbow colored halo can indicate glaucoma, where increased eye pressure affects the optic nerve and can cause blindness.

Peripheral Vision Changes

The narrowing of your field of vision can happen so gradually that you may not even notice. Glaucoma is one common cause of this problem, but a concussion sometimes presents this symptom. Ischemia, or “eye strokes,” and detached retina can have this effect to some degree as well.

Sudden Vision Loss

This can be a frightening situation, and a serious one. Diabetic retinopathy, in which the blood vessels of the retina are damaged by the effects of the disease can permanently steal your vision. Ischemia is another culprit of this problem.

Pain

Intense eye pain can mean the onset of Sudden Acute Glaucoma. During an attack, eye pressure rises suddenly and causes damage to the optic nerve that can result in permanent blindness. This is an emergency condition that requires immediately treatment.

Diminished Colors

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) can cause colors to appear dull and faded and cataracts may cause you to see colors with less distinction. Early detection is the best way to manage AMD, since it can be untreatable, and cataracts can be corrected with surgery.

Your vision is precious and irreplaceable. A regular eye exam can help identify many eye problems before they progress into loss of sight. Contact your eyecare specialist any time you notice unusual symptoms, and don’t miss your yearly appointment.

 

AMD/Low Vision Awareness Month

Welcome to February, one month closer to spring and an important month in eye health awareness. This month’s call to arms is for AMD, or Age-related Macular Degeneration, and general low vision issues. Understanding what these diseases are and how to manage them may one day save your own sight.

AMD
Age-related Macular Degeneration is a devastating condition affecting millions of people, many of whom are unaware that they have it, especially if they neglect their yearly eye exam. Contained within the eye are various components that help you see. One such component is the retina, responsible for transmitting the image to your brain in a way that can be interpreted. The retina includes the macula, specifically responsible for transmitting the central part of the image.

Imagine your field of vision as a person’s photograph. For a person with AMD, the person’s face would appear blurry, wavy, or completely missing. This painless disease occurs so gradually that you may not recognize the problem until your vision has been significantly diminished. Risk factors such as high cholesterol and blood pressure, being overweight, or smoking increase your chance of developing AMD.

Two types of AMD exist: Wet and Dry AMD. In the case of the more commonly occurring Dry AMD, color vision is compromised, caused by a thinning of the retina’s pigment epithelium. Dry AMD may develop into Wet AMD, where fluid or blood is leaked into the macula by malfunctioning blood vessels. Wet AMD is more rare, but more severe. Current technology promotes the use of omega 3′s and lutein to help prevent Wet AMD progression. AMD cannot be cured, but preventive measures may slow progress of the disease. A yearly eye exam is critical to catch AMD early.

Low Vision
Low vision is a catch-all phrase used to describe the effects of diminished sight. Vision reduction may be caused by cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy or detached retina. Some conditions are correctable with surgery, as in the case of cataracts and detached retina, but many destructive eye problems can only be managed. Early detection is the best tactic in fighting low vision.

Every year, eye doctors see even more patients with AMD or low vision. The best advice is to catch issues early during your annual eye exam. Being vigilant about your eye health now could preserve your vision for many more bright and colorful years.

5 Eye Care Tips for Adults Over 60

Aging brings about a myriad of changes in a person’s body, and your vision is no exception. Your risk of eye-related problems, some very destructive, can increase significantly as you age. Retinal detachment, diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts, and dry eye are all issues that can compromise your vision if you are over 60. Follow these five tips for a long life of great eye health.

Healthy Diet and Exercise

Throughout life it is important to keep your weight and diet under control, but as you age this becomes even more critical. Eating well will keep certain health conditions at bay as well as fueling the body with quality ingredients. Consuming foods rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids help steer away cancers and other diseases. As an added bonus to fitness, exercise can substantially reduce your chances of macular degeneration.

Regular Eye Exam Schedule

Changes in your eyesight may seem to be a natural part of aging, but even subtle changes may be the early stages of a detrimental eye disease. Having a yearly eye exam will ensure your prescription is current and monitor your eye health. The earlier a problem is identified, the greater the potential for successful treatment.

Monitor Health Conditions

While cataracts and dry eye may seem inevitable consequences of aging, other manageable medical conditions can wreak havoc on your eye health. Diabetes and high blood pressure are two major culprits of disease-related eye damage. Keeping both in check can mean avoiding diabetic or hypertensive retinopathy, where the blood vessels in the retina are damaged. Retinopathy of either type can result in blindness.

Lighting

As you age and your vision diminishes, it is important to make sure you use adequate lighting for your activities. Reading or sewing in dim light places additional strain on your eyes, resulting in eye fatigue and irritation.

Wear Sunglasses

You may know of UV light being hazardous to your skin, but may not necessarily think about the damage it can cause to your eyes. Wearing sunglasses that are branded as having UV protection will help minimize your risk of developing cataracts plus reduce eye strain in bright conditions.

Some aspects of aging can be avoided simply by paying attention to your health and wellness. Have a regular medical and eye exam and treat yourself well. Following these simple guidelines can ensure your good eye health for many years to come!