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How To Keep Your Eyes Healthy As You Age

As we age, there are a variety of things that can impact our vision. Understanding these changes and recognizing when you need to be seen by an eye care professional is important.

Normal age-related changes to eyes

These include:

  • Change in ability to see close objects (Presbyopia)
  • Floaters (cobwebs or specks in vision)
  • Increased tearing (especially with bright light and wind)
  • Eyelid problems with redness and swelling

A visit with an optometrist or ophthalmologist can help you better manage these common issues. Avoiding UV exposure by wearing sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat can help with some of these symptoms.

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Serious eye issues related to aging

These include:

  • Cataracts
  • Corneal diseases
  • Dry eye conditions
  • Glaucoma
  • Retinal disorders

Each of these conditions requires medical care. Cataracts are a clouding of the lens. When a cataract significantly reduces your vision, a surgical procedure to remove the lens and replace it is needed. Corneal diseases relate to the front surface of the eye. Injuries and irritation of the cornea can cause ulcers or abrasions. Treatment can be as simple as eye drops but in severe cases surgery is necessary.

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Dry eyes result from poorly working tear glands. These occur more frequently in women. Drops and ointments can be used to reduce symptoms. Surgery may help severe cases. Glaucoma is a condition where excess pressure builds within the eye itself. Treatment may involve using daily eye drops although sometimes surgery is needed to preserve vision.

Retinal issues are a complex group of conditions which are a leading cause of blindness. The three most common retinal problems are:

  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Retinal detachment

Sudden changes to your vision such as bright flashes may indicate a severe condition is present. Seek medical attention immediately.

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General suggestions for keeping your eyes healthy

Eye-healthy activities include:

  • A good diet
  • Controlling diabetes
  • Quitting cigarettes
  • Staying physically active
  • Reducing eye strain

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Taking these simple steps, as well as seeing an eye care professional for annual checkups, will help you keep good vision for your entire life.