One in six Americans age 65 and older have a vision impairment that cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses. The risk of eye disease increases with age, yet many older adults neglect to see an optometrist for care. Among older Americans, visual impairment is one of the most significant contributors to loss of independence; it is also associated with a higher prevalence of chronic health conditions, falls, injuries, depression and social isolation. To bring attention to taking care of our eyes as we age, the National Eye Institute celebrates Healthy Aging Month to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of vision loss - and steps to help seniors take care of their sight. More than 20 million Americans suffer from severe vision loss. While not all eye diseases can be prevented, there are simple steps that everyone can take to help their eyes remain healthy now and reduce their chances of vision loss in the future.
Literally meaning "aging eye" presbyopia is an age-related eye condition that makes it more difficult to see things up close. When you are young, the lens in your eye is soft and flexible. The lens of the eye changes its shape easily, allowing you to focus on objects both close and far away. After the age of 40, the lens becomes more rigid. Because the lens can’t change shape as easily as it once did, it is more difficult to read at close range. This normal condition is called presbyopia. Check out the link below to learn more about presbyopia.
Glaucoma is a disease that damages your eye's optic nerve. It usually happens when fluid builds up in the front part of your eye. That extra fluid increases the pressure in your eye, damaging the optic nerve. It is estimated that three million Americans have glaucoma, but only about half of them know that they have glaucoma. Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness for people over 60 years old. But blindness from glaucoma can often be prevented with early treatment. When glaucoma develops, usually you don’t have any early symptoms and the disease progresses slowly. In this way, glaucoma can steal your sight very gradually. Fortunately, early detection and treatment (with glaucoma eyedrops, glaucoma surgery or both) can help preserve your vision. Click the link below for more information and videos to learn more about glaucoma.
Cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss worldwide and affect nearly 22 million Americans age 40 and older. By age 80, more than half of all Americans will have cataracts, according to the National Eye Institute. Cataracts are a natural result of aging. As the eye's lens, which sits behind the pupil, grows older, its cells die and accumulate, turning the lens yellowed and cloudy. The result is blurred vision and "fuzzy" images. Eye injuries, certain medications and diseases such as diabetes are also known to cause cataracts. In the early stages, stronger lighting and eyeglasses may lessen vision problems caused by cataracts. But at a certain point, cataract surgery—the most frequently performed operation in the United States—may be necessary to improve vision. Check out the link below for information and videos to learn more about cataracts.