Cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration are three of the major eye health concerns that seniors face. We work with our patients on prevention, early detection, and treatment.
Here are the questions that we are asked most frequently.
Also, read – Why is it harder to read after 40?
What Happens to the Eyes as We “Grow Up”?
When a person reaches “40 something” the most common problem that occurs is called, presbyopia, which means the eyes lose their ability to focus clearly on near objects. The printed word is often blurred, sewing, reading menus, maps or the morning paper is difficult without a lot of arm stretching for people over forty years old. We start needing progressive and bifocal glasses or contact to see close up.
BODY CHANGES WITH AGE
The eyes change with age in the same way your body changes with age. For example, the lens of the eye yellows with age, which makes it more of a challenge to drive at night: adjusting to oncoming headlights and judging distance becomes increasingly difficult.
The older we get, the more susceptible we become to getting certain eye diseases such as:
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Macular degeneration
- Vitreous Floaters
Below are examples of how your world may look with certain eye conditions.
Noticeable symptoms of Glaucoma may be a gradual loss of side vision or blurred vision.
According to the American Optometric Association, approximately one in five Americans aged 85 and older suffers the severe visual problem. Twelve percent of people aged 75 to 84 are severely impaired visually, compared to less than one percent of adults age 18 to 44. Severe visual impairment is uncommon, but “virtually everyone suffers some loss of visual accuracy by the age of 65.”
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 the 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. Dr. Brisco can make recommendations at your annual eye health examination such as:
- Early Detection of Eye Disease
- Eye exercises
- Nutrition for your eyes
- Healthy lifestyle overall
- Homeopathic medicines
- 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.
Your eyes don’t lie about your age. 50 is the new 30 because you don’t look your age, but it’s almost impossible to avoid not seeing your age.
When you reach your mid-40’s most of us start straining to see close up. This is called PRESBYOPIA which is due to a natural maturation of your eyes. The lens stiffens, gets cloudy over time, and the focusing muscles get weaker which affects your ability to zoom in and out to change focus especially to see things at near. Presbyopia progresses until you literally cannot see what is right in front of you unless you wear reading or multi-focal glasses, or you take off your glasses for distance. This is why I invented a phone case with a reading lens called NearSight to make it easier for you to see on and off your phone while you are on the go. Get on our mailing list to be one of the first to know when we launch in 2021 www.NearSight.com
Did you know that you can slow down aging of not only how you look, but how you see? The same things that are good for your overall health are good for your eyes. Eating healthy, an active lifestyle, yearly preventive eye exams, and using natural medicine such as homeopathy can keep your eyes healthier and stronger longer. In fact, I have developed lifestyle recommendations, natural treatments and eye exercises for my patients to slow down, and even reverse aging of their eyes. I am happy to do telemedicine consultations for patients about this who do not live in Southern California. You can request an appointment on my website www.HollywoodVision.com or send an email to Hollywood_Vision@yahoo.com
The foods that you eat affect your body AND your eyes. Did you know that fat-filled snack foods may heighten the risk of developing advanced age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness and vision impairment? Think twice next time you reach for processed snack foods, “Is this worth being unhealthy?” Strive to eat foods that will enhance your vision, and help you age gracefully. Here are some foods that naturally enhance your vision:
- Raw red pepper
- Sunflower seeds
- Leafy greens
- Fish (Salmon)
- Lean meat
Pair a healthy diet with regular exercise and natural treatments such as homeopathic medicine that is based on triggering the body’s self-healing abilities to protect your vision. On top of this, make sure to exercise your eyes regularly. You can do this by challenging your eyes to focus on different objects in a variety of ways. For example, you can do some of the following activities:
- Focus on your finger a few inches away from your eye
- Slowly move your finger away from your face, holding your focus
- Look away and focus on something in the distance at least 10 feet away
- Refocus on your finger close up
- Repeatedly change focus from far to near for 5 minutes
Take home tip: a healthy diet paired with an active lifestyle = great long term vision! Have your eyes examined annually to keep your eyes aging gracefully. I am living proof of this!