Do you ever struggle to read your phone? Presbyopia is often the first sign of aging which we experience through our eyes. It is the loss in the ability to adjust your vision according to different distances, causing a blurred image of objects that are up-close. Many other eye problems can appear as you get older. The risk of disease increases with age, and some even start before the onset of symptoms. Having a regular eye exam will help prevent age-related eye health problems. Here are some of the common diseases that may appear as you get older.

Presbyopia
Presbyopia usually starts in the early 40s. The lens starts to lose its flexibility and starts to harden, preventing it from transmitting a clear image to the retina. It becomes more and more difficult to see up-close. When presbyopia first starts, you can compensate by stretching your arm out in order to read better. Unfortunately, your arms will eventually not be long enough! Soon, glasses will be needed to correct your vision. It is also possible to correct presbyopia using multifocal contact lenses, which can help you see all distances.

Floaters
Have you ever seen spots in your vision? It could be floaters. These occur when the vitreous liquifies and pulls away from the eye. This is a jelly-like substance inside the eye, which changes and becomes more liquid with age. It then moves away from the retina and separates into clumps, which can create spots in your field of vision. Floaters are sometimes accompanied by flashes. If you see flashes, make an appointment immediately with your optometrist: flashes and floaters may be early signs of retinal detachment.

Dry Eyes
Do your eyes often feel dry? This is perfectly normal because they produce fewer tears as you get older. Signs of dry eyes include itching, eyestrain and blurred vision. An evaluation of your eyes will help determine the cause. The first solution that your optometrist could recommend is the use of lubricating drops, which will immediately relieve dry eyes. With age, our eyes can also be more watery, due to sagging eyelids. They are, therefore, more sensitive to wind, light or changes in temperature. In these situations, your eyes can produce an excess of tears to protect themselves.

More Frequent Diseases
With age, the risk of eye diseases increases greatly. Among the most common eye diseases and conditions are cataracts. This can be heredity or caused by overexposure to the sun without protection.  With cataracts the eye’s lens turns yellow and becomes opaque, affecting vision. Another common disease when aging is glaucoma . This occurs when there is an increased pressure in the eyes, which can affect vision permanently. People may also develop age-related macular degeneration (AMD) which affects the field of vision. Another disease that is increasingly common with aging is diabetic retinopathy. When there are complications with diabetes, the vessels of the retina becomes inflamed. In late stages, this disease can permanently affect vision. It is the leading cause of blindness in North America.

Taking care of your vision is crucial and, even more so as you get older. If you are over 65, it is recommended that you visit your optometrist each year. Most provinces cover eye exams for seniors through health insurance. Was your last eye exam over a year ago? Make an appointment today with your Optometrist.