YOUR EYESIGHT AFTER THE AGE OF 40

Have you lived your entire life thus far without the need for reading glasses?

Do you feel on top form and anything but old? Yet your eyes do not perform as well as you would like them to?

Do you wear glasses for distance vision, but are taking them off more often to read your text messages or computer screen? Are you closing in on the age of 40? To manage eyestrain when using computers, this resource will help you : Digital Eyestrain

You will likely begin to notice up-close activities becoming more difficult as your eyes age, especially reading text messages on your phone or flipping through your favorite book. 

This condition, known as presbyopia, occurs when the crystalline lens inside your eye begins to harden, thicken, and lose the elasticity it once had when you were younger. 

Beginning in the late thirties to mid-forties, most adults may start to experience presbyopia and it will progress overtime.

Initially, you may find you need to hold reading materials farther away to see them clearly. You might experience additional symptoms like headaches and fatigue, trouble driving at night, blurry vision at a normal reading distance – particularly in low light, and eye strain.

This natural part of the aging process can be frustrating, 

If you already wear prescription glasses or contact lenses to see clearly for far distance, the near vision changes caused by presbyopia can bring about the need to use bifocal or multifocal lenses.

 If you are short sighted, you may have discovered that you now need to remove your glasses to see better up close

Thankfully, people with presbyopia now have many options to improve their ability to see well..

This flexibility allows the eye to change focus from objects that are far to objects that are close. Persons with presbyopia have several options available to regain clear near vision. They include:

  • Eyeglasses, including single vision reading glasses and multifocal lenses
  • Contact lenses, including monovision and bifocal lenses
  • Laser surgery and other refractive surgery procedures

As you continue to age through your 50s and beyond, presbyopia becomes more advanced. You may notice the need for more frequent changes in reading glasses or contact lens prescriptions. Around age 60, these changes in near vision should stop and prescription changes should occur less frequently.

Presbyopia can’t be prevented or cured, but many options are available to help compensate for the loss of near focusing ability. Most individuals should be able to obtain clear, comfortable near vision for all of their lifestyle needs.

Understanding Age-related Vision Changes

Just like your body, your eyes and vision change over time. Aging changes in various parts of the eye can result in a number of noticeable differences in how well you see. While not everyone will experience the same level of symptoms, the following are common age-related vision changes:

  • Need for More Light
    As you age, you need more light to see as well as you did in years past. Brighter lights in your work area or next to your reading chair will help make reading and other near tasks easier.
  • Difficulty Reading and Doing Close Work
    Printed materials are not as clear as before without the use of reading glasses, because the lens in your eye becomes less flexible with time. This makes it harder for your eyes to focus near objects with the same ability you had when you were younger.
  • Problems with Glare
    You may notice additional glare from headlights at night or sun reflecting off of windshields or pavement during the day, making it more difficult to drive. Changes within the lens in your eye cause light entering the eye to be scattered rather than focused precisely on the retina, thus creating more glare.
  • Changes in Color Perception
    The normally clear lens located inside your eye may start to discolor making it harder to see and distinguish between certain shades of colors.
  • Reduced Tear Production
    With age, the tear glands in your eyes will produce fewer tears. This is particularly true for women after menopause. As a result, your eyes may feel dry and irritated. Having an adequate amount of tears is an essential element in keeping your eyes healthy and maintaining clear sight.

A comprehensive eye examination is recommended at least every two years. Don’t rely on free eye screenings to determine if you have an eye or vision problem. This is because you may be particularly at risk for the development of eye and vision problems if any of the following exist:

  • Chronic, systemic conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
  • A family history of glaucoma or macular degeneration.
  • A highly visually demanding job or work in an eye-hazardous occupation.
  • Health conditions like high cholesterol, thyroid conditions, anxiety or depression, and arthritis for which you take medications. Many medications, even antihistamines, have ocular side-effects.

Warning Signs of Eye Health Problems

This is also the time in life when your risk for developing a number of eye and vision problems increases. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you may have the early warning signs of a serious eye health problem:

  • Fluctuating Vision
    If you experience frequent changes in how clearly you can see, it may be a sign of diabetes or hypertension (high blood pressure). These chronic conditions can damage the tiny blood vessels in the retina, the light sensitive layer at the back of the eye, causing vision loss that can sometimes be permanent.
  • Seeing Floaters and Flashes
    Occasionally, you may see spots or floaters in your eyes. In most cases, these are actually shadowy images of particles floating in the fluid that fills the inside of the eye. Although they can be bothersome, spots and floaters are usually harmless and typically do not risk vision. They are a natural part of the eye’s aging process. But if you suddenly see more floaters than normal, and they are accompanied by bright, flashing lights, they may be a warning sign of impending retinal detachemnet.—a tear of the retina. This should be treated immediately to prevent serious loss of vision. 
  • Loss of Side Vision
    If it seems that you are losing peripheral or side vision, this may be a sign of glaucoma. Glaucoma occurs when the optic nerve is damaged and no longer transmits all visual images to the brain. It often has no symptoms until damage to sections of your vision has begun.
  • Seeing distorted images
    If straight lines appear distorted or wavy or there appears to be a blind spot or empty area in the center of your vision, you may have the signs of age-related macular degeneration(AMD). The disease affects the macula, the part of your retina that is responsible for central vision where the eye’s acuity is sharpest. The disease causes a blind spot that’s right in the middle of your field of vision. (Link to age-related macular degeneration)

Regular eye examinations and early diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases can help you continue to preserve good vision throughout

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