Age can bring about changes that impair your vision and eyesight, but you can take steps to ensure that your vision and overall health are maintained for the rest of your life. The remedy may be as easy as increasing the brightness of lighting in your home to help prevent accidents caused by poor vision, or as complex as seeing your doctor more regularly to test for age-related disorders. Learn More about How our vision changes with age here. Following solutions are tested by researchers to provide optimum results for each eye condition.
DIAGNOSING AN EYE CONDITION
Many eye conditions have no symptoms in their early stages, so you may be unaware that your vision is deteriorating. Regular eye examinations can assist in detecting very early indications of any eye condition. The optometrist examines the back of the eye in order to detect problems such as macular degeneration, diabetic eye disease, and even indicators of hypertension.
Diagnosing an eye condition begins with a routine checkup. There are certain timelines prescribed by doctors for each age group unless symptoms appear for a specific one to get a checkup. It is partly determined by the age, but also by your eyes and family. Learn more about risk factors related to eye conditions here.
- If anyone is under the age of 40 and have no visual issues, the doctor may recommend to get routine eye exams every two years.
- Over 40s should get their eyes tested every 1–2 years.
A complete eye exam is quick and painless. It should take between 45 and 90 minutes to complete. The examination for any eye condition should include the following types of tests,
- Medical History: The ophthalmologist will enquire about past medical history, any medications and either you are using and prescribed glasses before for any eye conditions.
- Visual Acuity: This is the most common aspect of an eye exam. You will be asked to read an eye chart to assess your distant vision. You cover one eye while testing the other. This test determines if you have 20/20 vision.
- Tonometry: Tonometry monitors the pressure within your eye (intraocular eye pressure). A high IOP indicates glaucoma. Use a brief blast of air or a gentle pressure-sensitive tip to test your eye. For your comfort, your ophthalmologist may use numbing eye drops.
- Eye and Eye Ball Movements: Side vision testing will help to detect hidden eye abnormalities since side vision might be lost without notice. For example the loss of peripheral vision in glaucoma symptom. Pupils response will be tested strong light to assess your pupils’ response to light. Pupils generally shrink in response. Widening or non-responsive pupils may indicate an underlying issue. For eye movements, ocular motility is a test that measures it. Your ophthalmologist checks your eyes’ alignment. They also test your eye muscles for diagnosing any changes for eye conditions.
- Test for Prescription Lens: Your doctor will ask you to look through a phoropter at an eye chart. The phoropter has lenses. For the optimum eyeglass or contact lens prescription.
The full eye exam gives valuable information about overall eye health. Get a full eye checkup as part of your overall health care.
The next section will discuss all the age-related eye conditions. They are,
1. MANAGE PRESBYOPIA
Presbyopia is a normal consequence of aging and cannot be prevented. Everyone, regardless of diet or eye health, will ultimately suffer this loss of visual acuity. However, it can be managed with various methods mentioned below,
1. Manage it with Eyewear.
Presbyopia eventually impairs the lens’s ability to focus correctly. This typically takes ten years from start to finish. Reading glasses are the most popular option to treat presbyopia. It can either be bifocal if you have any other eyesight-related issue ( with two different prescriptions into a single spectacle lens. The lens’s upper portion carries the prescription for distant vision, while the lens’s lower component contains a prescription for near vision). If there is no other eyesight-related issue then it has been suggested in research that one can try glasses with the numbers mentioned below, according to their age group.
|Persons’ Age||Lens Power|
|35 to 45||+1.00|
|45 to 50||+1:50|
|50 to 55||+2:00|
|Over 55||+2.50 or higher|
It is essential to generally change your eyewear every two to three years to retain correct vision, especially between ages 40 and 55. The right prescription for presbyopia spectacles is determined by the individual’s age and the distance they wish to see for near work.
Contact lenses. It is another method to manage presbyopia. Like reading and prescriptions glasses, they too can be monovision ( one eye wears a lens for distance vision and the other wears a lens for a close-up. ), bi ( near and far focus), and multifocal lenses (similar to bifocal, but with an intermediate zone) according to one’s eye condition.
2. Nutritional therapies. The use of the following vitamins has been proven beneficial for eye conditions like presbyopia.
- Vitamin A & Beta carotene has proven to be reducing the age-related degeneration of eye conditions. women: 700 micrograms and men: 900 micrograms daily.
- Vitamin C is well-known for its ability to prevent cataracts and decrease the course of age-related eye problems. The vitamin C RDA for adults is 90 mg for men and 75 mg for women
- Vitamin E has been demonstrated to protect cells in the eyes specifically against free radicals that cause the breakdown of healthy eye tissues deteriorating eye health. The RDA for vitamin E for adults is 15 mg per day.
- Zinc is an adjunct to Vitamin A and helps absorb it better via the liver and deliver it to the retina. Zinc’s recommended daily allowance is 11 mg for men and 8 mg for women for better eye health.
- Bioflavonoids also contribute to better eye vision as also proven by recent research.
- Lutein is found in leafy green vegetables and helps your eyes filter damaging blue light that may damage your retinas. It has been proven for helping in eyesight in recent research. A 12-month blind study trial indicated that 20 mg of lutein daily enhanced eyesight, especially in low light, and visual-related quality of life.
3. Prescription Eye drops.
Vuity (pilocarpine HCl ophthalmic solution) 1.25% is the first and only prescription eye drop approved by the FDA to treat presbyopia. It works by constricting the pupil of the eye, which may aid in seeing things up close. Follow your doctor’s instructions and put this medication to the affected eye(s) as often as necessary, usually once daily.
Some people choose surgery Refractive Surgery to attain monovision. This may lessen their requirement for glasses for close-up and distant items and is somehow similar to wearing monovision lenses. An ophthalmologist uses a laser to reshape the cornea for clear far vision in one eye and close-up vision in the other. Pre-surgery assessment is done with monovision lenses to see if it’s good for you. The success rate of such surgeries is around 73%.
- PresbyLASIK to correct presbyopia, ultraviolet light creates comparable zones (near, far, and intermediate) on the cornea’s front surface. It is a new experimental treatment and is now undergoing US clinical studies to assess its effectiveness and safety. PresbyLASIK patient satisfaction varied from 76% to 100% and is one of the most preferred surgeries for presbyopia.
- Corneal Inlays. Newer corneal inlays Surgery effectively corrects presbyopia. These are surgically placed in the cornea to restore close-up vision. It’s a minimal invasion surgery that provides tissue to the eyes rather than removing it. An implant is implanted in the weaker eye.
- Laser treatment or surgery to correct presbyopia are possible too. But the only advantage of these approaches, if any, is that you no longer have to wear glasses. They can lead to side effects and complications, too, though.
2. MANAGE MYOPIA
The most popular approach to addressing myopia symptoms is using eyeglasses or contact lenses. They function by focusing light rays on the retina in order to compensate for your eye’s shape. Additionally, eyeglasses can aid in the protection of eyes from damaging ultraviolet (UV) light rays. Sometimes, a topical solution is also prescribed Atropine that may also help reduce the progression of myopia.
Refractive Surgery. Refractive surgery can significantly minimize the need for glasses and contact lenses. The eye surgeon reshapes the cornea using a laser, resulting in a lowered nearsighted prescription. Even after surgery, users may require the usage of spectacles on occasion. Following types of surgeries are being conducted for this particular eye condition.
- Laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis – LASIK. The ophthalmologist creates a tiny hinged flap in the cornea. Then a laser is used to remove the inner layers of the cornea, flattening its dome. LASIK surgery recovery is faster and less painful than other corneal operations.
- Laser-assisted subepithelial keratectomy- LASEK. The surgeon just makes a little flap in the cornea’s protective layer (epithelium). Then the epithelium is replaced after reshaping the cornea using a laser.
- Photorefractive keratectomy – PRK. Unlike LASEK, the surgeon removes the epithelium entirely before reshaping the cornea with the laser. The epithelium is not replaced but grows back naturally to fit your new cornea.
Orthokeratology. In this, one is asked to wear rigid, gas permeable contact lenses for several hours each day until the curvature of your eye is evened out by the lenses There is evidence that this lens retards the elongation of the nearsighted eyeball, hence reducing myopia. Ortho-k is often indicated for the following people who are not suitable candidates for LASIK. Individuals seeking myopia correction without the use of eyeglasses or daytime contact lenses. Individuals who suffer from dry eye and/or allergies have difficulty using conventional contact lenses.
Spend time outdoors. It has been proven that people who spend more time outside have a much-decreased chance of getting myopia. Spending time outdoors was found to have a protective impact against the onset of myopia, with a 50% reduction in risk associated with an additional 76 minutes of outside time each day. However, it is essential to protect yourself from UV rays by wearing sunglasses to prevent eye health.
Proper lighting. Avoid reading in dimly lit areas. Limit the time spent on digital gadgets and ensure that extended periods of near attention are broken up.
3. MANAGE AGE-RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION
The first thing that needs to be done is to regularly check in with your eye doctor to closely monitor your eyesight. There are two types of Age-Related Macular Degeneration: Dry AMD and Wet AMD.
Treatments for Dry AMD
People with dry AMD may have drusen (yellow deposits) in their macula. A few may not cause changes in the vision. As drusen get bigger and more in quantity, they can dim or distort the vision especially when reading. When worsens, the light-sensitive cells in the macula get thinner and eventually die causing blind spots in the center of the vision or even loss of central vision.
Dry AMD can be managed with nutritional therapies and visual aids,
For intermediate or late AMD, one might benefit from taking supplements containing ingredients to delay by 25% the onset of late AMD and slow vision loss for people who already have late AMD. A sample of nutrients for AMD;
- Lutein, 6-10 mg
- Vitamin C, 500 mg
- Vitamin E, 200 – 400 IU
- Vitamin D3, 1000 – 2000 IU
- Zeaxanthin, 2 mg
- May include Zinc, 20 – 80 mg
- Omega-3 fatty acids, 1000 mg (fish oil) if not eating fish.
- Beta-carotene is not recommended as a supplement as it can be found in foods.
Nutritional supplements are not a cure for AMD, although they may help slow the illness in some cases.
2. Visual Aids.
AMD can not be cured, and hence visual aids play their role here to ease up life and to reduce the intensity of this eye condition. Magnifying glass, magnifying spectacles can be used to help in clearly seeing. Also, there are many applications available on smartphones and tablets that’s help to magnify a screen. Use of Tinted Sunglasses in gray or brown to block harmful ultraviolet radiation that may cause macular degeneration. Anti-reflective technology in macular glasses can help brighten the field of vision.
3. Foods to Eat and Avoid
The same things that clog your heart’s blood vessels can harm your eyes’ blood vessels. Avoid fast food and limit the following, especially if you have high cholesterol.
|Foods to Eat||Foods to Avoid|
Treatments for Wet AMD
It is considered Wet AMD when the blood vessels grow from underneath the macula. These blood vessels leak blood and fluid into the retina. The vision is distorted as straight lines appear wavy. It is also possible to have blind spots and loss of central vision. These blood vessels and their bleeding can eventually form a scar, leading to permanent loss of central vision.
To keep your vision from deteriorating, you may need regular eye injections and, rarely, photodynamic therapy.
- Anti-VEGF Therapy. Wet AMD is now treated by injecting anti-VEGF medicine into each afflicted eye. It is considered a gold standard method for this eye condition. The injections must be repeated every 4 to 12 weeks. Adverse effects include; eye bleeding, foreign body sensation, redness, and discomfort.
- Light Therapy. A laser destroys the defective blood vessels that cause wet AMD. Most patients need several treatments to fully benefit from therapy as the therapy is usually beneficial for 3-4 months. Adverse effects include; Visual disturbances, injection site pain, edema, bleeding, or inflammation, and, (Sunburn) Photosensitivity reactions.
4. MANAGE GLAUCOMA
- Eyedrops. It’s the first-line treatment for glaucoma. Various eyedrop medications can cure this issue. It reduces fluid and increases drainage in the eyes. You should continue taking the drug as long as it is effective. It is advised to use it once daily. Side effects can include allergies, redness, stinging, blurred vision, and irritated eyes.
- Medications. If eye drops don’t work, your doctor may prescribe tablets, such as beta-blockers, but this is rare. Possible side effects include frequent urination, tingling in the fingers and toes, depression, stomach upset, and kidney stones.
- Laser. Your ophthalmologist utilizes a laser to aid increase fluid outflow. The laser can supplement but not replace eye drops. Laser, on average, lowers eye pressure by approximately 20-25 %. Laser treatments produce results that endure up to five years. A study proves that laser can be used as a first treatment instead of eye drops to treat glaucoma.
5. MANAGE CATARACT
1. Eyeglasses. Mild cataract symptoms may only require a new prescription for glasses or contacts.
2. Surgery. Consider surgery when cataracts prevent you from doing what you want or need, like driving or reading. One type of surgery called Phacoemulsification is the most common procedure in which ultrasound waves are used to break the lens apart and remove the particles. Then an artificial lens called an Intraocular lens (IOL) is placed inside. Another type is Extracapsular Surgery, and in this, the removal of the lens is done in one piece rather than breaking it up. The surgeon next inserts the IOL.
Both types of surgeries are successful and very safe. You won’t be feeling any pain during the procedure. Redness, swelling, irritation, infection, hemorrhage, and retinal detachment (1%) are possible consequences of cataract surgery, however rare. Most patients can go home the same day. The success rate of these surgeries is said to be 90%, according to National Eye Institute.
6. MANAGE TRICHIASIS
Mild trichiasis can be treated at home with eye drops that can help relieve discomfort and protect the eye’s surface from further damage causing the severity of this eye condition. Trichiasis is also treated by removing the eyelash, follicle, or both, or by rerouting the development of the eyelash. Trichiasis might affect just a few lashes. The ophthalmologist may just forceps them out (tweezers). The eyelashes may regrow in the incorrect direction. Other treatments include radiofrequency or laser ablation removes lashes and hair follicles. Electrolysis involves the usage of body-friendly currents to permanently remove hair. Whereas, cryosurgery freezes the lashes and follicles.
7. MANAGE DRY EYE
Dry eye condition has no permanent remedy. Dry eyes syndrome can be treated in a variety of ways, depending on the underlying cause of the eye condition. Several of the most often utilized treatment approaches include the following:
- Over-the-counter medications. For moderate cases of dry eyes caused by computer usage, reading, homework, and other environmental factors, the best dry eye therapy may be as simple as the frequent use of artificial tears or other lubricating eye drops. Artificial tears are typically the first line of defense against dry eye conditions.
- Prescription medications. Dry eye treatments approved by the FDA include only Lifitegrast and Cyclosporine. Corticosteroid eye drops can be administered to alleviate eye irritation.
- Devices. Some FDA-approved gadgets can temporarily treat dry eyes by stimulating the nerves and glands that produce tears.
- Surgery. To prevent tears from draining from the eye, your eye doctor may place silicone-based punctal plugs into the inner corners of your eyes.
8. MANAGE FLOATERS
Depending on their size, floaters might fade in one to six months. Some may never fully go. In some circumstances, a vitrectomy may be recommended. A vitrectomy removes the floater-causing vitreous gel surgically. They’ll next replace the vitreous gel with saline solution or a gas or oil bubble.
9. MANAGE DIABETIC RETINOPATHY
Once retinopathy has proceeded to severe stages, there is no completely effective technique for this eye condition. The main treatment regimen is to control diabetes. However primary therapies for diabetic retinopathy that is threatening or impairing your vision are as follows:
- Laser Treatment. This is done to reduce the creation of new blood vessels in the retina and thus reduce overall ocular pressure in the area.
- Eye Injections, In some cases of diabetic maculopathy, anti-VEGF injections are delivered directly into the eyes to prevent new blood vessels from developing.
- Surgery of the eye. It is done to remove blood or scar tissue from the eye if laser therapy is not possible due to advanced retinopathy.
10. MANAGE RETINAL DETACHMENT
For eye conditions like retinal detachment, the best solution to date is surgically based. There are several approaches available.
- Laser (thermal) therapy or cryopexy (freezing). Ophthalmologists utilize cryopexy or laser surgery to cure tiny holes and tears. Tiny burns surrounding the injured region “weld” the retina back into place, while “cryopexy” helps reconnect the retina.
- Pneumatic retinopexy. The surgeon inserts an air or gas bubble into the eye’s center (the vitreous cavity). The bubble presses the retinal hole or holes against the eye’s wall, preventing the passage of fluid behind the retina.
- Vitrectomy. During a vitrectomy, the surgeon removes the vitreous and any tissue tying up the retina. . Air, gas, or silicone oil is then injected into the vitreous space to help flatten the retina helping with this eye condition.
Eyes are one of the most delicate and complicated body organs, requiring special care to keep them healthy, vivid, and colorful. In addition to taking proper care of your eyes, be sure to be on the lookout for any concerning signs or symptoms and to act quickly by seeing an eye doctor so that your eyes may receive expert care and treatment for the related eye condition.