January 25, 2019

 6 Signs and Symptoms of Age-Related Eye Problems

The older that you get, the more likely you are to start having issues with your vision. While eye problems can happen at any age, it is an unavoidable consequence of a long life that vision problems are going to become more likely. Here in Summerville, we always advise patients that they need to have regular eye exams in order to identify any potential problems. Eye care is vital, and the quicker that eye problems are identified, the more likely that you can tackle them and ensure that you reduce the potential risks of a total loss of vision. Here are some of the most common signs of eye problems caused by aging.

Spots and Floaters

No matter how old you are, you have most likely experienced those sometimes annoying little spots in your sight. These are very common, and usually harmless. However, in older people, those spots in your field of vision could be the sign of something more serious. Vitreous detachment is when the usually gel-like substance inside the eye becomes more liquified. This then causes it to detach from the retina itself. Those spots are actually the as-yet undissolved gel floating around inside the eye and result in you seeing spots, dots, or ‘floaters.’ They can be any size and shape, but if you consistently see spots in your vision, then you should make it a priority to book an eye exam in Summerville as soon as possible.

A Dark Curtain

Some people are affected by a sudden onset of darkness in their vision. Often, the sensation is similar to the feeling of someone pulling a dark curtain over your eyes. This can be the sign of a very serious issue, and if you do not seek medical treatment quickly, then you may lose your vision on a permanent basis. An optometrist in Summerville or eye doctor can advise you if further action needs to be taken. That shadowy effect in your field of vision is being caused by the retina detaching from the blood vessel inside the eye, which can become thinner as you get older. This makes retinal detachment far more common in the elderly. Permanent damage can take just a few hours, which is why you need to minimize delay if you get that ‘dark curtain’ sensation.  In order to avoid a permanent loss of vision, you will most likely require eye surgery to reattach the retina.

Eye Pain / Redness / Nausea / Vomiting / Loss of Vision

These symptoms could be the sign of a serious eye condition known as narrow-angle glaucoma. This is an eye problem that can damage your optic nerve on a permanent basis. This is more common in older generations because the lens inside your eye does continue to grow as you age. As it grows, you are increasingly likely to experience what is known as pupil block. There could be underlying issues such as a tumor inside the eye itself or a Pupillary block. Treatment is possible for narrow-angle glaucoma and can vary from oral medication, intravenous medication, or even eye drops. Recently, there has been a rise in the number of people treating this issue with laser surgery or non-laser glaucoma surgery. Another essential is to ensure you have suitable sunglasses to protect your eyes from harsh UV rays. You can find suitable sunglasses in Summerville easily by talking to one of our specialists.

Double Vision & ‘Ghosts’

People of any age can and do experience the odd sensation of double vision. While this is not normally an issue if you experience it rarely, if you have double vision on a regular basis then you need to book your eye exam in Summerville as soon as possible. While excessive drinking and not getting enough sleep can cause double vision, in older people there could be a variety of reasons why you see double. These can include:

  • Head Injury
  • Stroke
  • Brain injury
  • An aneurysm
  • Irregularities in your cornea (this will often cause you to see ghost images)
  • Dry eyes
  • Cataracts

Check with your eye specialist. They will be able to work out what is causing your double vision, and may have to refer you to a specialist. Treatments and eye care for the majority of issues that are causing double vision or ghost images are straightforward. New glasses, medications, or even vision therapy can help minimize the effects of double vision.

Blurred Vision

If you are starting to experience a blurring in your vision and it’s only noticeable in one eye, then you may have a macular hole in your retina. This is a common issue for those over 60 and if left untreated will eventually result in a loss of sight. That’s why you need a quick diagnosis because even though (in rare cases) the macular hole can heal over time, the vast majority of cases will result in an ongoing deterioration of your vision. Treatment will usually involve removal of the vitreous inside your eye, replacing it with a mix of gas and air that will gradually be replaced with your natural vitreous fluids. It’s essential that you receive a quick diagnosis in cases of macular holes, as failing to do so can result in a permanent loss of vision.

Cloudy/Blurred Vision

If your vision is turning cloudy or blurred, or you start seeing halos of light when looking at lights in the night, then you may have started developing cataracts. Although cataracts are not generally considered as a medical emergency, the quicker that you have them diagnosed, the less likely that your vision will worsen. Time is the key issues with cataracts because as we get older, the lens in your eye can start to cloud over, and the longer you leave treatment, the more likely that there will be complications. Clouded lenses will eventually start to harden by themselves if they are not removed, and that can make them even more difficult to remove easily.

There’s no getting around the fact that vision problems increase in likelihood the older that we get. That’s why it’s more important to get regular eye examinations as you get older. Age-related eye problems can be far more easily tackled when they are diagnosed quickly, which is why delaying your next eye exam could be a bad idea. Get your eyes checked regularly and your chances of experiencing the worst of the vision problems you’re vulnerable to will be vastly reduced.

 

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