Age And Eye Health: Every Thing You Need To Know

Introduction

The human eye is one of the most intricate organs in the body. It can process up to 36000 images in one hour. In an average lifetime, our eyes see around 25 million images. It is only fair for us to assume that with such extensive usage, our eyes will start to feel the consequences of old age.

Apart from blurring vision, a human eye can suffer from countless problems during an average human’s lifetime. A few of such complications that you can expect with age are as follows:

Commonly occurring eye disorders

These eye problems can happen to anyone but are mainly age-related. Simple procedures such as corrective glasses or eye drops can remedy most of these ailments.

Presbyopia or farsightedness

In this disorder, there is a gradual decrease in our capacity to see nearby objects and fine print. This ailment is developmental, that is, it gradually affects the human eye beginning from the age of 40. Individuals with this condition can be seen holding objects at a considerable distance to see them.

Common symptoms associated with this ailment are headaches and exhausted eyes. Farsightedness can be rectified using reading glasses.

Myopia or nearsightedness

In this condition, a person can see nearby objects clearly but faraway objects appear blurry. Highly curved cornea (outer cover of the eye) and an inadequately sized eyeball can lead to myopia. Due to this, light rays focus in front of the retina and not on it, leading to inaccurate visualization.

The advancement of myopia is fairly slow and can be rectified by using corrective glasses, contacts, or sometimes surgeries.

Floaters

These are minute dots or flecks suspended in the eye. You can sense its presence in a bright surrounding like when outdoors. It is fairly normal and may need no extra medical attention.

Floaters and light flashes together can be problematic. Such a condition is called retinal detachment wherein a tissue at the backside of the eye pulls away from a layer of blood vessels.

If you experience an unexpected variation in the number of floaters, visit a doctor without delay. An ophthalmologist can remove eye floaters through an incision made in the eye (vitrectomy).

Dry eye syndrome

In this ailment, the tear glands are unable to create enough liquid to lubricate the eyes. It is associated with eye irritability, itching, burning, and in severe cases, partial blindness.

Doctors may advise you to install a humidifier at home or use eye drops made to stimulate tears. The commonly prescribed eye drop is Cyclosporine (Restasis) that treats the swelling that would otherwise result in dry eyes.

You can find eye gels and ointments manufactured to reduce dry eyes under the brands GenTeal Severe Dry Eye, Refresh celluvisc, etc.

Tearing

If your eyes produce a lot of tears automatically, it could be prone to brightness, air, and heat variations in the atmosphere. A simple hack to prevent tearing is to wear sunglasses when stepping outdoors.

Tearing may be an indicator of other serious conditions such as an eye infection or blockage in tear glands. A prescription of eye drops and antibiotics can usually correct an eye infection that triggered the tearing.

Some commonly prescribed antibiotics are Besifloxacin ophthalmic, Levofloxacin ophthalmic, Gatifloxacin ophthalmic solution, Ciprofloxacin ophthalmic, etc.

In serious cases, surgery to create a new tear drainage system (dacryocystorhinostomy) will have to be conducted.

Common eye diseases specific to the aging population

Eye disorders escalate with increasing age. They become pervasive and sometimes are difficult to correct if the symptoms are not detected early.

Some of the most widespread age-associated eye disorders are as follows:

Cataract

A person suffering from cataracts will have cloudy regions forming in the eye lens which is ideally supposed to be clear. This growth blocks the light from entering the eye to reach the brain. If not removed, it can result in blindness in the long run.

This ailment develops gradually and is often undetectable in its developmental stages. Some growths may remain small while others enlarge and thicken. The smaller growths seldom obstruct vision.

Cataracts can be removed by corrective procedures such as laser surgeries utilizing the phacoemulsification technique. In this, the laser breaks down the cloudy areas on the lens without damaging it.

Glaucoma

This ailment typically results from increased pressure in the eye. It can cause irreversible blindness if not corrected in time. Factors resulting in Glaucoma can be genetic, age-related, or due to eye injuries.

Sometimes glaucoma is also caused due to remedial eye operations. It can be identified by an ophthalmologist who will evaluate the look of the optic nerve, the eye pressure, and the present visual capacity of the patient.

Corrective treatments can be surgeries, prescription eye drops or oral medications. Some of the trusted oral medications for glaucoma are Dorzolamide, Brinzolamide, Acetazolamide, and Methazolamide.

Age-related macular degeneration

The macula is the center of the retina composed of millions of nerve cells called cones which are receptive to light. AMD results due to the loss of these cells leading to partial blindness.

This is a form of retinal disorders that can be rectified via laser operations or injections.

If detected in premature stages AMD can be rectified by consuming nutrition supplements of Vitamin C, E, Lutein, Zeaxanthin, Zinc, and Copper.

Diabetic retinopathy

This disease is linked to diabetes. It is the result of the leakage in blood vessels which are supposed to supply nutrition to the retina. The initial leakage may be combined with floaters, blind spots, and clouding images as this disease advances.

In severe cases, laser treatment can mitigate blindness. The growth of new blood vessels and resultant bleeding may result in the retina to swell. The probability of contracting diabetic retinopathy can be reduced by monitoring blood sugar levels or taking drug injections.

Generally recommended medicines are ranibizumab (Lucentis) and aflibercept (Eylea).

Conjunctivitis or red (pink) eye

This results when the inner tissue of the eyelids are swollen. Common symptoms are redness, itching, burning, tearing, and feeling of major discomfort in the eye.

Conjunctivitis could be viral, bacterial or allergic. Allergic conjunctivitis is treated by oral antihistamines such as cetirizine, fexofenadine, and loratadine. Bacterial conjunctivitis can be rectified with antibiotic eye drops such as Alaway and Zaditor.

Conclusion

You may face several ailments with age. But eye disorders are preventable if due measures are taken in time. With regular eye checkups, yearly eye exams, and pupil dilation tests, you can be sure to see the world clearly, even as you grow old.