As you age, every part of the body faces some level of degeneration—the eyes are no different. There are a few common eye problems to watch for as you get older. Knowing the symptoms and what to watch for could help you seek treatment when necessary and potentially save your vision. Don’t forget to see your optometrist every year, as their tests and expertise could help you catch potential problems before they become a serious threat to your vision.
According to the AARP, macular degeneration is the most common cause of vision loss in older adults.
One of the telltale signs of macular degeneration is when objects that are straight begin to look wavy or distorted. For example, if you look at doors and notice that they are beginning to look distorted, this could be a sign of macular degeneration.
In addition, macular degeneration can also cause your vision to blur. Blurry vision can sometimes be difficult to detect because it typically affects one eye at first, and the other eye ends up compensating. Due to this, it’s always a good idea to check your eyes individually by covering one and then the other when determining if you’re experiencing symptoms.
Retinal detachment is a condition that should be taken seriously. If you notice symptoms of retinal detachment, it’s best to see a doctor or head to the ER immediately to have it checked out. The faster you catch it, the better the outcome.
One of the more common and concerning symptoms related to retinal detachment is a sudden increase in floaters and flashes. Floaters, characterized as black dots or squiggles that interfere with your vision are very normal. However, if you experience a sudden significant increase in floaters interfering with your vision, it could be an early warning sign of retinal detachment. Light flashes, or a “curtain effect,” are also early warning signs of retinal detachment that shouldn’t be ignored, especially if they’re happening more often than usual.
Another symptom that could indicate retinal detachment is the sudden onset of blurry vision. This could affect one or both eyes.
Glaucoma is one of the more threatening eye problems older adults are faced with. Part of this is because glaucoma often sets in without any outward symptoms, which can make it difficult to detect early, especially if you’re not seeing an ophthalmologist regularly. Glaucoma is characterized by increased pressure in the eye, and it’s a serious condition that requires quick medical intervention to prevent vision loss.
However, acute angle-closure glaucoma can cause sudden pain and headaches around the eyes and face due to pressure build-up. In severe cases, you might even become nauseous and see rainbows surrounding light sources.
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