Every September, the American Academy of Ophthalmology celebrates Healthy Aging Month. The goal of Healthy Aging Month is to encourage older adults to keep an eye out for symptoms of common health concerns, including visual disorders.
Common eye conditions for older Americans include:
- Age-related macular degeneration
- Diabetic eye disease
Many of these conditions have no obvious symptoms, which is why it’s necessary to make regular, comprehensive eye exams.
What is age-related macular degeneration?
Age-related macular degeneration (often shortened to AMD) is a degenerative eye disease characterized by a loss in central vision. You may find it difficult to focus on objects straight ahead of you, leading to struggles with activities like reading, driving or watching television. Over time, these symptoms will worsen.
Thankfully, AMD is treatable. Injections, supplements, photodynamic therapy and laser surgery are all ways in which doctors can work to prevent further loss of vision.
What is a cataract?
A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens, leading to dim or blurry vision. Symptoms are often subtle at first, but with time, the lens will change colors, giving your eye a yellow or brownish tint.
Cataracts are very treatable – in fact, doctors have been treating cataracts with surgery for thousands of years. During cataract surgery, your eye will be numbed and the doctor will carefully remove the old lens and replace it with a new, artificial lens.
What is glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases characterized by damage to the ocular nerve. Increased eye pressure is a major risk factor for glaucoma, as well as high blood pressure. African Americans and Mexican Americans are the greatest risk of developing the disorders, but everyone should have their eyes checked after age 60.
The vision loss associated with glaucoma cannot be reversed, which makes catching it early essential. Surgery and medications can prevent the disorder from progressing.
What is diabetic eye disease?
Diabetic eye disease is not a single disorder – it’s any eye disease that disproportionately affects individuals with diabetes. Diabetic eye diseases include diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, glaucoma and cataracts.
If you have diabetes, you must receive regular comprehensive eye exams. All of these vision disorders can be treated if caught early.
What to learn more?
Our team of experts at Larson Eye Care would love to help you learn more about eye conditions that plague older adults. Contact us today to set up a comprehensive, dilated eye exam.