The following common eye problems can be easily treated. But, sometimes they can be signs of more serious issues.
Presbyopia (prez-bee-OH-pee-uh) is a slow loss of ability to see close objects or small print. It is normal to have this as you get older. People with presbyopia often have headaches or strained, tired eyes. Reading glasses usually fix the problem.
Floaters are tiny specks or “cobwebs” that seem to float across your vision. You might see them in well-lit rooms or outdoors on a bright day. Floaters can be a normal part of aging. But sometimes they are a sign of a more serious eye problem such as retinal detachment. If you see many new floaters and/or flashes of light, see your eye care professional right away. This is a medical emergency.
Tearing (or having too many tears) can come from being sensitive to light, wind, or temperature changes or having dry eyes. Wearing sunglasses may help, as might trying eye drops. Sometimes tearing is a sign of a more serious eye problem, like an infection or a blocked tear duct. Your eye care professional can treat these problems.
Eyelid problems can come from different diseases or conditions. Common eyelid problems include red and swollen eyelids, itching, tearing, and crusting of eyelashes during sleep. These problems may be caused by a condition called blepharitis (ble-fa-RI-tis) and treated with warm compresses and gentle eyelid scrubs. Eye Diseases And Disorders The following eye conditions can lead to vision loss and blindness. They may have few or no symptoms early on. Regular eye exams are your best protection. If your eye care professional finds a problem early, there are things you can do to keep your eyesight.
Cataracts are cloudy areas in the eye’s lens causing blurred or hazy vision. Some cataracts stay small and don’t change your eyesight a lot. Others become large and reduce vision. Cataract surgery can restore good vision. It is a safe and common treatment. If you have a cataract, your eye care professional will watch for changes over time to see if you would benefit from surgery.
Corneal diseases and conditions can cause redness, watery eyes, pain, problems with vision, or a halo effect of the vision (things appear to have an aura of light around them). Infection and injury are some of the things that can hurt the cornea. Some problems with the cornea are more common in older people. Treatment may be simple— for example, changing your eyeglass prescription or using eye drops. In severe cases, surgery may be needed. It generally works well and is safe.
Dry eye happens when tear glands don’t work well. You may feel itching, burning, or have some vision loss. Dry eye is more common as people get older, especially for women. Your eye care professional may tell you to use a home humidifier, special eye drops (artificial tears), or ointments to treat dry eye. In serious cases, special contact lenses may help. AgePage National Institute on Aging 2 3 4 Aging And Your Eyes Are you holding the newspaper farther away from your eyes than you used to? Join the crowd—age can bring changes that affect your eyesight. Some changes are more serious than others, but for many problems, there are things you can do to protect your vision. The key is to have regular eye exams so you can spot problems early. Steps To Protect Your Eyesight Have your eyes checked regularly by an eye care professional—either an ophthalmologist or optometrist. People over age 65 should have yearly eye exams. During this exam, the eye care professional should put drops in your eyes that will widen (dilate) your pupils so that he or she can look at your inner eye. This is the only way to see some common eye diseases that have no early signs or symptoms. If you wear glasses, your prescription should be checked too. See your doctor regularly to check for diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure. These diseases can cause eye problems if not treated.
See an eye care professional right away if you:
- Suddenly cannot see or everything looks dim