As you grow older, your eyes will start to change, making you more vulnerable to certain eye conditions and diseases that can threaten your vision. Knowing the warning signs of these age-related eye problems is important; the sooner you seek out diagnosis and treatment from an experienced ophthalmologist, the easier it will be to treat your problem.
Cataracts are one of the most common age-related eye problems. Many people think of cataracts as a cloudy film that covers the surface of your eye, but this is not quite true. Instead, cataracts involve the gradual clouding of the eye’s entire lens. The less transparent your lens is, the more your vision will be impaired.
If your vision quality has deteriorated to the point where it interferes with daily life activities – such as reading, driving, or simply watching television – this may indicate the development of cataracts. People with cataracts also often notice glare or halos at night, especially from oncoming headlights or when sitting near light bulbs. Additionally, cataracts tend to make color vision less vivid.
For most patients, glaucoma does not cause obvious symptoms until extensive damage has already occurred to the optic nerve. When this happens, you will begin to lose your peripheral vision (side vision). This is why it is so essential to have regular eye exams. Detecting glaucoma in its early stages can save your vision. Chicago Ophthalmologist Dr. Golden suggests eye exams on all adults at least every two years and yearly for those over the age of 45.
The most common form of glaucoma is open-angle glaucoma, which involves an excess of fluid production in the eye which causes the pressure in your eye to increase which leads to the destruction of the optic nerve. In contrast, acute angle-closure glaucoma comes with many immediate and painful symptoms, including:
- Blurred vision
- Rainbow halos around lights
Acute angle-closure glaucoma is a medical emergency. Without immediate treatment, you can potentially go blind within days.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
Typically, the first sign of age-related macular degeneration is distortion of straight lines which is commonly manifested as difficulty with reading. Over time, this distortion may slowly progress, involving dark, blurry areas in the visual field or white-out areas, as well as diminished color perception.
“Dry” macular degeneration is a gradual condition that develops over a long period of time before displaying obvious symptoms. If only one of your eyes has AMD, the other eye may make up for slight vision deficiencies, making it even more difficult to recognize when you are being affected by AMD.
Wet macular degeneration develops much more rapidly than the dry form. In wet AMD, blood vessels begin to grow beneath your retina, leaking blood and other fluids that cause swelling of your macula. Your vision deteriorates much more rapidly with wet macular degeneration. If you notice that straight lines suddenly seem curved, this may mean that blood vessels have recently grown beneath your retina, and you should seek immediate treatment.
If you have noticed any signs or symptoms of the above eye diseases, please contact Doctors For Visual Freedom as soon as possible for a complete dilated eye exam. Depending on how quickly your condition is identified and treated, we can help you preserve your vision into the future.