After age 65, your chances of developing vision problems or eye disease are higher. About 40% of older people have vision problems.
Of the 5 senses that humans have, vision is the most important. Everything we experience and learn in life has to pass through the eyes. With age, the eyes lose the ability to accommodate near vision, this is known as presbyopia. Presbyopia occurs around the age of 40 and is a natural physiological process that occurs because the elasticity of the lens changes.
According to the World Health Organization, 80% of visual disabilities worldwide can be prevented or cured. The most common cause of reversible blindness in older adults is cataract. Progressive opacification of the lens that prevents the passage of light.
After age 50, tear production and quality decline, especially in women.
The tear is an aqueous solution with electrolytes, immunoglobulins and proteolytic enzymes, which serve to maintain adequate and balanced lubrication in the eyes. On some occasions, they can be unstable and insufficient for various reasons, such as environmental factors that make the tear evaporate faster, a diet low in vitamin A and more. This instability or tear imbalance causes discomfort in the eyes, such as burning, irritation, gritty sensation, inflammation, damage to the surface of the eye, blurred vision and is known as dry eye.
Age-related macular degeneration is the most common cause of blindness in people over 65 years of age. This condition is painless and destroys central vision and important details of vision over time. It occurs in the central part of the retina where the macula is located.
Glaucoma is another eye disease and in some cases, it develops with age. This condition is silent and produces irreparable negative changes in the optic nerve.
Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes and consists of internal bleeding and damage to the blood vessels of the retina. It has serious consequences if left unchecked.
It is important that the older adult visit the ophthalmologist every 6 months for a general evaluation of the eyes in order to prevent, detect and treat eye diseases in time.
Recommendations to improve or preserve vision in older adults.
- Use high-quality ophthalmic lubricants.
- Maintain a healthy diet.
- Control your blood pressure and glucose (sugar) levels.
- Have an active lifestyle.
- Wear polarized sunglasses outdoors.
- Avoid tobacco and high alcohol consumption.
- Visit your trusted ophthalmologist every 6 months.