Vision Changes as We Age

Created on: Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Author: Sushil K. Jain, O.D., See Clearly Vision

Just like our body, our 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 at the same age, the following are common age-related vision changes that will occur:
•Need for More Light: As we age, we need more light to see as well as we did in the past. This can be caused by changes in the ocular media. To remedy this, brighter lights in your work area or next to your reading chair can help. When the bright lights aren’t making tasks easier, it is commonly due to the presence of crystalline changes called cataracts. The presence of cataracts can be diagnosed and treated by visiting your eye care professional for a complete eye examination. 
•Difficulty Reading and Doing Close Work: Printed materials are not as clear as before, in part because the lens in our eye becomes less flexible with time. This makes it harder for our eyes to focus near objects with the same ability we had when we were younger. The use of reading glasses or bifocals can easily solve this problem. 
•Problems with Glare: We may notice additional glare from headlights at night or the sun reflecting off of windshields or pavement during the day. These things can make driving more difficult and possibly unsafe. Changes within the lens in our 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 our eye may start to discolor making it harder to see and distinguish between certain shades of colors. Again, this is due to the presence and maturation of cataracts. Cataract extraction surgery can be done to enhance colors. It is one of the most commonly performed surgeries in the country. 
•Reduced Tear Production: With age, the tear glands in our eyes will produce fewer tears. This is particularly true for women after menopause. As a result, our eyes may feel dry and irritated. Having an adequate amount of tears is an essential element in keeping our eyes healthy and maintaining clear sight. The use of artificial lubricants can increase ocular comfort, as well as provide a more adequate tear film; that will ultimately allow for clearer vision. 
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned in this article, it will likely benefit you to make an appointment with an eye care professional. They will be able to properly diagnose the cause of your issues and recommend appropriate therapies to alleviate them. 

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