Are you holding the newspaper farther away from your eyes than you used to? Join the crowd—age can bring changes that affect your eyesight. Some changes are more serious than others, but for many problems, there are things you can do to protect your vision. The key is to have regular eye exams so you can spot problems early.
Steps to Protect Your Aging Eyes
Have your eyes checked regularly by an eye care professional—either an ophthalmologist or optometrist. People over age 65 should have yearly eye exams. During this exam, the eye care professional should put drops in your eyes that will widen (dilate) your pupils so that he or she can look at the back of each eye. This is the only way to find some common eye diseases that have no early signs or symptoms. If you wear glasses, your prescription should be checked too.
See your doctor regularly to check for diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure. These diseases can cause eye problems if not treated.
See an eye care professional right away if you:
. Suddenly cannot see or everything looks blurry
. See flashes of light
. Have eye pain
. Experience double vision
. Have redness or swelling of your eye or eyelid
Protect your eyes from too much sunlight by wearing sunglasses that block ultraviolet (UV) radiation and a hat with a wide brim when you are outside.
Common Eye Problems
The following common eye problems can be easily treated. But, sometimes they can be signs of more serious issues.
Presbyopia is a slow loss of ability to see close objects or small print. It is normal to have this as you get older. People with presbyopia often have headaches or strained, tired eyes. Reading glasses usually fix the problem.
Floaters are tiny specks or “cobwebs” that seem to float across your vision. You might see them in well-lit rooms or outdoors on a bright day. Floaters can be a normal part of aging. But sometimes they are a sign of a more serious eye problem such as retinal detachment. If you see many new floaters and/or flashes of light, see your eye care professional right away. This is a medical emergency.
Tearing (or having too many tears) can come from being sensitive to light, wind, or temperature changes, or having dry eyes. Wearing sunglasses may help, as might trying eye drops. Sometimes tearing is a sign of a more serious eye problem, like an infection or a blocked tear duct. Your eye care professional can treat these problems.
Eyelid problems can result from different diseases or conditions. Common eyelid problems include red and swollen eyelids, itching, tearing, and crusting of eyelashes during sleep. These problems may be caused by a condition called blepharitis and treated with warm compresses and gentle eyelid scrubs.
If you have any of these problems, seek advice from an eye care professional to help determine if any action should be taken to prevent vision loss. There are special tools and procedures that can help people with various vision problems to read, write, and manage daily tasks.
Dr. Carter H. Gussler, MD
Dr. John C. Gross, MD
Dr. Kimberly Epling, OD
We take appointments by referral only.
TRI STATE OPHTHALMOLOGY
2841 Lexington Ave., Ashland, KY