Seeing well after 40

Autor: Ants Haavel

Seeing well after 40

In this review article Dr. Ants Haavel MD, eye surgeon of KSA Eye Center writes most common problems which could arise as you grow older

Many eye diseases and disorders are more common as we age. Advances in ophthalmology allow most people maintain good vision as they grow older.many eye problems can be prevented or corrected if detected in their early stages.

regular eye examinations by ophthalmologist are best way to detect eye conditions early, while they can be treated . An ophthalmologist is medical doctor with special training and skills to diagnose and treat all diseases of the eye.

The following are eye problems commonly experienced among older people.

presbyopia

When you are young, the lens in your eye is flexible and changes shape easily, allowing you to focus on objects both close and far away.

As you get older, your lens becomes less flexible. By about age 44, the lens cannot change shape as easily as it once did and it becomes more difficult to read. This normal condition is called presbyopia.

floaters

you may sometimes see small specks or clouds moving in your field of vision. They are called floaters. You can often see them when looking at plain fair background, like white wall or blue sky.

Floaters are actually tiny clumps of gel or cells inside the vitreous, the clear , jelly-like fluid that fills the inside of the eye.What you see are the shadows they cast on the retina, the nerve layer at the back of the eye that senses light and sends images to the brain

You should see an ophthalmologist right away if suddenly develop new floaters , especially if they are associated with flashes of the light . These symptoms may indicate a torn retina, which could lead to retinal detachment.

cataract

A cataract is clouding of the eye’s naturally clear lens, like a window that is “fogged” with steam. When the lens becomes cloudy , light rays cannot pass through it easily and vision becomes blurry.

protecting your eyes from strong sunlight may slow the blurring of vision due cataract. There are no medications, eye drops, exercises or glasses they have formed. Surgery is the only way to remove a cataract.

Common symptoms of cataract include:

painless blurring of vision
frequent eyeglass prescription changes
glare and halos
colors that look dulled and brownish
poor night vision
It is up to you to decide when to have a cataract removed. When you are not to able to see well enough to do the things you like or need to do, you should consider cataract surgery.

in cataract surgery, the cloudy lens is removed from the eye through 5 mm incision. In most cases, the focusing power of the natural lens is restored by replacing it with a permanent intraocular lens implant.

cataract surgery improves vision in most cases. cataract surgery is usually done on an outpatients basis, so you can go home same day after few hours.

glaucoma

Galucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in developed world. It is a disease of optic nerve, which is the part of the eye to the brain. Galucoma can damage nerve fibres, causing blind spots in our vision.

Glaucoma affects the pressure inside the eye, or intraocular pressure. aqueous humor is a clear liquid that normally flows in and out of the clear liquid that normally flows in and out of the eye. When liquid cannot drain properly, pressure builds up in the eye. The resulting increase in pressure can damage the optic nerve.

The most important risk factors for glaucoma include:

age
family history of glaucoma
African origin
past eye injuries
past eye injuries

The only sure way to detect glaucoma is with a complete eye examination. Symptoms of glaucoma are not noticeable until much damage has already occurred. Early diagnosis and treatment is the key to preventing blindness.

Your ophthalmologist can determine if you have glaucoma after examining the pressure in your eye , inspecting the optic nerve by microscope, checking by special computer your field of vision and scanning by laser your optic nerve fibres.

Glaucoma is usually controlled with eye drops. Laser surgery or operative surgery may be done if the drops do not control pressure. These treatments only stop further damage; they cannot reverse any damage or loss of sight that has already occurred. That is why early detection and taking eye drops as prescribed are so important to prevent blindness from glaucoma.

macular degeneration

macular degeneration is damage or breakdown of the macula of the eye. The macula is a small, central area of the eye that allows us to see fine details clearly. Macular degeneration is caused by ageing and thinning of the tissues of the macula. vision loss is usually gradual.

In some cases abnormal blood vessels develop and leak fluid or blood under the macula. Vision loss in this case may be rapid.

When the macula doesn’t function correctly, you experience blurriness or distortion in the centre of your vision. Macular degeneration makes close work, like reading or threading a needle difficult or impossible.

Although macular degeneration reduces reading vision, it does not affect your peripheral vision. For example, you could see the outline of a clock but not be able to tell what time it is.

Macular degeneration alone does not result in total blindness.

If you experience one or more of the following symptoms, have your eyes examined promptly:

words on a page look blurred in the centre;
straight lines look distorted, especially towards the centre of your vision;
a dark or empty area appears in the centre of vision;
colors look dim

There is no proven cure for macular degeneration. In some people who have leaking blood vessels , laser surgery and intraocular injections may slow or prevent additional vision loss.

various low-vision optical devices can help people continue with many of their normal activities.They include:

magnifying devices;
closed-circuit television;
large-print reading materials;
talking or computerized devices
Your ophthalmologist can prescribe optical devices or refer you to a vision rehabilitation specialist or center. because side vision is usually not affected , a person’s remaining sight can be very useful. A wide range of support services , rehabilitation programs and devices are available to help people with macular degeneration mainntain satisfying living standard.

diabetic eye problems

Many older adults have diabetes, a disease in which the body does not use or store sugar properly.

Diabetes can cause changes in the vessels, veins and arteries that carry blood throughout your body. This disease can affect your vision by causing cataracts, glaucoma and , most importantly , damage to blood vessels inside the eye.

0AWhen blood vessels in the retina are damaged, they may leak fluid or blood , and grow fragile brush-like branches and scar tissue. This condition , called diabetic retinopathy, can blur or distort the images that the retina sends to the brain.

Laser surgery is the most common treatment for diabetic retinopathy. It often does not return vision to normal, but is very helpful in preventing continued loss of vision.

You can have serious, sight treating retinopathy without any symptoms. The best protection against loss of vision from diabetic retinopathy is to have regular eye examinations by your ophthalmologist. People with diabetes should have eye examinations at least once a year , or as recommended by their ophthalmologist.

most older people have good vision. If you do develop a vision problem , early diagnosis and treatment by an ophthalmologist can help to preserve your sight.

recommended is comprehensive eye evaluation every 2-4 years for people aged 40-64 tears old and every 1-2 years to people 65 and older.

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