Your Vision Through the Years
Like all aspects of your physical health, your eyes — and how you care for them — change over the course of your life. Knowing what you’ll encounter at different ages will help you maximize your vision for the long term.
In Your 20s & 30s…
These are busy years for many people, focusing on education, jobs and family. You many find yourself in front of a computer many hours a day for work or school. Your occupation may require special eyewear for safety reasons. And you are probably as physically active as ever, or possibly more-so.
This is a great time to practice good eye health habits and focus on prevention.
- If you spend hours in front of a computer, make sure you take breaks and create the right environment to reduce eye strain. (Click here for more info.)
- If you are active in sports, know what eyewear is recommended and make sure you wear it. According to Prevent Blindness America, more than 40,000 emergency room visits each year are due to sports-related eye injuries. And experts estimate that 90 of these could be prevented with protective eyewear.
- Make sure you wear protective eyewear on the job, if you need it.
- Wear sunglasses, even on overcast days or in the winter. UV damage is cumulative and often doesn’t affect your vision until years later.
- Maintain your weight, exercise, eat a balanced diet and don’t smoke. These all have an impact of your eyes.
- Know what eye health issues exist in your in your family and share these with your optometrist.
In Your 40s & 50s…
This is an age when vision problems begin to emerge, even if you have never needed vision correction or had any eye health problems. With careers and family obligations still in full swing, it is important to stay on top of any eye health problems that might slow you down.
- Prevention is still important and plays an even bigger role in maintaining good vision throughout your life. Continue exercising, eating right, wearing sunglasses, and protecting your eyes from strain and/or injury.
- You may experience presbyopia, or “old-age farsightedness”. This will require a different type of correction. Reading glasses may be sufficient, but you might also find that biofocals or multifocal lenses serve your changing needs better.
- This is a period when many eye diseases first emerge. Early detection is key to mitigating the damage done to your vision. Routine comprehensive exams are essential, even if you don’t have vision correction. Conditions like glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration (AMD) and others don’t always result in blindness, but they often do if not detected soon enough.
In Your 60s & Beyond…
If you have done everything you can to maintain your eye health, we hope that you are able to enjoy your vision through these years. Good vision is a wonderful asset during this time of your life.
Regular eye exams are even more important given that advance age increases the risk for eye diseases. Other health issues can have an impact on your eyes, including high blood pressure and diabetes. Make sure to keep your optometrist informed of any health concerns you have.
Following are some unusual vision symptoms you should watch for in your senior years:
- Cloudiness. This could be a sign a cataracts. Because the lenses of our eyes become more “opaque” as we age, almost all of us will develop cataracts at some point. The good news is that they are treatable, especially if detected early.
- Loss of peripheral vision. If you are experiencing what could be described as “tunnel vision,” you may have glaucoma. This eye disease is not curable, but it can be successfully treated when caught in its early stages.
- Blurred images and dull colors. These can be early warning signs of macular degeneration (AMD). This is the leading cause of blindness in people over 65, and early detection is key. The most prevalent form of AMD cannot be cured, but early detection will help you and your eye health professional minimize its effects on your vision.
- Floating spots and flashes of light. While it’s normal to see the occasional floating spot or light flash, an increase may signal a detached retina. This requires immediate medical care to avoid vision loss.