There's more to healthy vision than 20/20 eyesight!

Senior's Vision

As we get older it is normal that our vision changes. Our eyes may find it harder to read small print, take longer to adjust from light to dark and be more sensitive to glare from sunlight or very bright light bulbs. The most common causes of vision loss in senior include:

  • Floaters - Most common in bright lighting, floaters are tiny specks that float across the field of vision. They are normal, but can become a more serious problem if they are frequent.
  • Dry eyes - Very common in people over 50, dry eyes happen when the tear glands cannot make enough tears. They can be uncomfortable and cause burning, itching or even loss of vision.
  • Cataracts - Cataracts are cloudy areas or opacities in the lens of the eye. A cataract can inhibit light from passing through the retina, where images are processed. These usually form slowly and cause no pain, but if they become severe enough they will need to be surgically removed.
  • Glaucoma - This can develop when the optic nerve is damaged from elevated intraocular pressure or reduced blood supply to the optic nerve. Another mechanism is when the microscopic drainage system in the eye is partially obstructed, the intraocular pressure increases causing damage to the optic nerve. If not treated early, it could lead to permanent vision loss or blindness. Many factors contribute glaucoma and it is important to detect it early.

Many changes to vision happen so slowly that you may not realize you have a problem. If you are over 45 years of age, the most important thing you can do to protect your vision is to have an eye exam on a regular basis. Finding problems early may make the difference between maintaining good vision and vision loss.

How Else Will Our Eyes Change?

Lighting: The retina is like film in a camera. As we get older, the number of cells in the retina decrease-the fewer the calls, the more difficult it is to see in dim light.

Print size: It gets more difficult to read small print as we get older because we lose focusing ability, and need more contrast to see as our eye's lenses oxidize.

Glare: We are more bothered by glare as we get older because as the lenses in our eyes oxidize and become less "perfect", light is scattered by the lens, creating glare. For example, driving at night because more difficult because of glare, and it is harder to see products displayed or stored in glass cases that produce glare.

Blur and Decreased Contrast Sensitivity: It becomes increasingly difficult to see clearly in dim lighting while reading, or driving at night.

Visual disturbances like spots or floaters, which appear like specks, strands or threads in front of the eye become more common as we age.

How Can We Protect Our Eyes?

We can age gracefully by taking care of our eyes. Our doctors can make recommendations at your annual eye health examination such as:

  • Early Detection of Eye Disease
  • Eye exercises
  • Nutrition for your eyes
  • Environmental Protection

Do not take your eyes for granted. Respect yourself by taking care of your eyes like you take care of everything else that is important to you.

Life is Worth Seeing