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Seniors Eye Health 
Seniors: Set your sight on eyecare

For most people, minor vision problems are a normal process of aging. But as we age, the risk increases of developing more serious eye problems. Some of these problems can lead to a partial or complete loss of vision, which, in turn, affects a person’s safety and independence.

Insights on aging and vision

  • A recent study found that within the past 10 years the prevalence of eye disease in seniors increased approximately 45%. Thus, senior eye care has become increasingly important. In addition:
  • Older drivers with vision impairment are 200% more likely to be involved in an auto accident.
  • People over 61 have an increased risk for cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration and other sight-threatening or visually disabling eye conditions, as well as other serious health conditions.
Cataract risk

By age 80, more than half of all Americans develop cataracts, which occur when the lens of the eye becomes cloudy. Most people with cataracts have it in both eyes, although one eye may be worse than the other. Many people with cataracts don’t even realize they have them, so watch for these symptoms:

  • changes in the way you see color
  • frequent changes in your eyeglass prescription
  • impaired vision at night, especially while driving, caused by effects of bright light
  • problems with glare from lamps or the sun
  • halos around lights
  • double vision
  • white spot or cloudy spot in the lens of the eye (the pupil, instead of being black appears milky or white)
Other risks

Presbyopia is a progressive condition that makes reading and doing close-up work, such as sewing, increasingly difficult as eyes age. While it’s not sight-threatening, presbyopia can only be properly diagnosed and treated by an eyecare professional. Glasses and bifocals can be prescribed to help correct your vision.

Diabetic retinopathy, a common complication of diabetes, results in broken, leaking or blocked blood vessels in the retina. Over time, this impairs vision. Nearly half of all people with diabetes have some problem with retinopathy, and the risk increases with age. An estimated 5.3 million Americans are currently affected.

Age-related macular degeneration, which currently affects 1.6 million Americans, primarily affects the part of the retina responsible for sharp central vision. It is one of the most common causes of legal blindness and vision impairment in older Americans.

Glaucoma is a disease that causes gradual damage to the optic nerve. The optic nerve carries visual information from the eye to the brain. As many as half the people with glaucoma don’t know they have it because loss of vision occurs slowly until a significant amount of nerve damage has occurred. Approximately 2.2 million Americans age 40 and older have been diagnosed with glaucoma, and estimates are that another 2 million do not even know they have it.

Focus on regular eye exams

All seniors should have regular comprehensive eye exams to detect signs of serious vision problems and prevent further deterioration of sight. With regular eye exams, your eye doctor can detect problems early and prescribe proper treatments to delay or prevent vision loss. If your family has a history of eye disease, diabetes, or poor health, or if you’re taking medicine that could have side effects on the eye, you may need to have an eye exam once a year. You and your doctor should determine the eye exam schedule that best meets your eye care needs.

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 Mascoma Eye Care, Dr. Edward C. Warren 24 Hanover Street, Suite 3A Lebanon, NH 03766   Phone: 603-448-2111    Fax: 603-448-2443   Email: Click Here
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