What should you know about aging eyes and eyesight?
First and foremost our eyes are one of the most important organs in our body. Unfortunately eyeballs and vision always seem to be taken for granted until there is a problem.
Physical changes in our eyes occur as we age which can cause a decline in vision over time. It is more common to start needing a better light source to view both distance and near objects. I hear my patients comment that they need more light for reading and other near tasks. Driving during the day is more comfortable and night driving becomes more difficult.
There are eye diseases that are more common as we get older. Many of these diseases are actually treatable if they are caught in their early stages. The problem is that frequently we don’t “feel” like there is anything wrong so we just keep going about our business while changes in our health develop. Failing eyesight is one of the last indications of an ocular problem.
Cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration and retinal detachments are the most common diseases I see but there are many others that can cause severe vision loss if not detected quickly. I highly recommend yearly eye checkups along with regular health checkups to focus on monitoring our overall health.
If you have diabetes, hypertension or have had strokes or heart attacks you may need to be seen more frequently. Also, certain medications you take for these and other diseases can cause severe dry eyes. If you are taking hypertension medication, antihistamines/decongestants, hormones, antidepressants, antipsychotic medicines, pain relievers, dermatologic medicines, gastrointestinal medicines or chemotherapy medicines you should be having your eyes checked often for any eye changes that may occur due to taking these types of medications.
Take home messages:
*Have your eyes checked yearly with a glaucoma check and dilation
*Wear sunglasses when you are outside
*If you have loss or dimness in your vision, double vision, increased headaches, a sudden increase in floaters, flashes of light in your vision, eye pain, discharge in the eye, swelling, and redness contact your eye doctors office right away
*Most eye diseases do not hurt.
I will be blogging more about our eyes aging in the near future.