6 Common Eye Concerns After 40

Dr. Lisa Porter OD A-B-See Vision Care

1. Difficulty reading small print: In your early to mid 40’s the focusing muscle inside your eye becomes less flexible, this condition is known as Presbyopia. It often causes people to have blurred vision when viewing objects up close. The best treatment is prescription lenses that allow you to focus on tasks such as reading and while working on the computer. Soft contact lenses that have a reading prescription built-in can often be prescribed in place of glasses.
2. Sandy, gritty, irritated eyes: The most common cause of eye discomfort is dry eye syndrome. This condition usually occurs as we age and is very common in women experiencing hormonal changes. Dry Eye Symptoms can also include an itching or burning sensation coupled with excessive tears. When our eyes are too dry our bodies can often overcompensate by causing a gush of tears at random times. Dry eye syndrome can also be caused when there are insufficient tears or unstable tear chemistry. Treatments can include: artificial tears, omega­3 fatty acid supplements, and a procedure that implants a small silicone plug into the drainage opening in the inner corners of the eyelids which will allow the tears you make to stay in your eyes longer. In some cases, prescription drops may be necessary.
3. Floaters and Flashes: An occasional floater in your field of vision is normal. Floaters are very common and occur when the gel­like fluid in your eye (vitreous gel) starts to shrink as we age. As it shrinks it releases tiny clumps of cells and debris that cast shadows on the retina and disrupting your vision. If the gel shrinks too much it can cause a retinal tear which will cause flashes of light. Many people report that the flashes look like a bolt of lightning or a jolt of electricity. If you see flashes you need to see your eye doctor right away! If a retinal tear is involved you only have 24­48 hours before permanent vision loss can occur.
4. Having a hard time driving at night or seeing street signs: If you are over the age of 50 this is probably related to a cataract formation. As we age, the lenses inside of our eyes become cloudy and blur our vision. Treatments we can provide to help decrease the onset of cataracts include wearing UV protection sunglasses or wearing a wide­brimmed hat outside, and also taking a daily multi­vitamin. If cataracts become severe enough that they inhibit vision, then cataract surgery will be necessary.
5. Glaucoma: Glaucoma is a major cause of blindness in the US, yet over half of all cases go undiagnosed. Glaucoma will often have NO obvious symptoms in the early stages, and by the time a patient notices decreasing vision, nothing can be done to restore what has been lost. The best way to check for glaucoma or increased pressures in the eyes is to have an annual
eye exam. The risk for glaucoma increases dramatically in midlife and whenever there is a history of the condition within your family.
6. Macular Degeneration: Macular degeneration occurs due to changes in the retina most often due to aging that causes cellular debris to build up. Vision loss is usually gradual and painless.

Patients may complain of missing letters in words or difficulty seeing small print. In
more severe cases there may be a profound loss or graying of vision. Precautionary
measures can be taken by wearing good UV protection sunglasses, regular exercise,
eating a healthy diet that includes green leafy vegetables, and monitoring your
cholesterol and blood pressure regularly.
Experts recommend that everyone have a baseline vision exam by the age of 40. Working
with your eye doctor will help to maintain healthy eyes and great vision. If you feel that you
are suffering from any of the symptoms listed, please give us a call so we can help you see
and feel better.

 
 

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