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Dr. Andrew Rynne
MD
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home Eye Problems Eye problems in old age

Eye problems in old age

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The common eye problems which occur as you age are cataract, glaucoma, macular degeneration, floaters.

Common changes in your vision as you age include:

  • Reduced sensitivity to light. You might notice that you need brighter lighting near your favorite reading chair or at your workstation.

  • Decreased visual acuity. Colors appear dim, and glare forms when light shines directly at you. This might cause you to avoid night driving.

  • Difficulty reading small print. The lens in your eye becomes less elastic and loses its ability to focus — a condition called presbyopia. You might need reading glasses or a magnifying glass to read small print.

 

Besides these changes to your eyes, aging makes you more prone to developing eye diseases that could impair your vision.

Cataract:

If you have cataracts, you may notice your vision becoming clouded, blurred or dim. You might find it harder to see at night. Some other signs and symptoms include:

  • Sensitivity to light and glare

  • Halos around lights

  • Fading or yellowing of colors

  • Double vision or multiple vision in one eye

 

Surgery is a common solution for cataracts. Most cataracts can only be detected with special instruments, so make an appointment with your eye doctor if you notice your vision clouding.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a group of diseases that are usually associated with an elevated fluid pressure inside your eyeball.

  • Sensitivity to light and glare

  • Trouble differentiating between varying shades of light and dark

  • Trouble with night vision and halos around lights

  • Loss of side vision

  • Eye pain or discomfort, with certain types of glaucoma

 

Seek immediate medical attention if you have severe eye pain, a headache, and nausea and vomiting associated with changes in your vision.

Macular degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) occurs when tissue in your macula — the part of your retina that's responsible for the center of your visual field — deteriorates. A blind spot forms in the center of your vision as a result.

signs and symptoms include:

  • The need for increasingly bright light when reading or doing close work

  • Printed words that appear distorted or increasingly blurred

  • Colors that seem washed out and dull

  • A gradual haziness of your overall vision

  • Difficulty seeing when moving from a bright room to a dimly lit room.

 

Floaters

As you age, your vitreous can become more liquid than jelly-like, causing floaters, which appear as spots and specks floating across your field of vision (see arrows). They're actually small clumps of gel, fibers and cells floating in the vitreous.

Most floaters are harmless, but if you suddenly develop a large number, especially if accompanied by flashes of light, it might signal a retinal tear or retinal detachment. Floaters are also a symptom of eye melanoma, a cancer of the eye. In such cases, seek medical attention immediately.