Are we all really fated to have bad eyesight as we get older? Not necessarily. Keep a keen eye on your vision and eye health and maintain crisp vision well beyond your 60s.
Top eye conditions to be aware of if you’re 60+
Presbyopia: As you age, the lenses in your eyes become less pliable than when you were first born. With a harder lens, your eyes have more trouble focusing on close-up objects, causing blurriness.
Glaucoma: A condition usually without symptoms, but it is very easy to detect. High pressure in the eyes damages the optic nerve and causes blindness over time.
Macular degeneration: An age-related condition where structures in the back of the eye begin to break down. It can lead to central vision loss.
Cataracts: Just like the lens becomes less pliable, it also gets cloudier with age. As such, it reduces the ability for light to reach the back of the eye for image transmission.
Top warning signs of severe eye conditions
Loss of side vision: If your peripheral vision begins to decline, then see your VSP network doctor immediately. It could be a sign of nerve damage by glaucoma.
Changing vision: Frequent changes to the clarity of your vision could be a sign of diabetes or high blood pressure. These conditions damage the blood vessels at the back of the eye.
Floaters or flashes: Some floaters are normal, but if you begin seeing lots of flashes and large spots all of a sudden, contact your eye doctor immediately. It could be a retinal tear or other critical problem with your eyes.
Distorted vision: A wavy or missing area in your field of vision could be a sign of macular degeneration.
Top behaviors affecting the health of your eyes
Sugar consumption: Damage to nerves because of high blood sugar affects your eyesight. And with too much sugar, cataracts are more likely to develop.
Smoking: Smokers are at a much higher risk of developing cataracts and macular degeneration. As you get over 60, the risk is even higher.
UV light: Protect your eyes from UV exposure. Too much ultraviolet light damages the tissue at the back of your eyes. Wearing brimmed hats and wraparound sunglasses helps.
Exercise: High blood pressure damages the optic nerve over time. Moderate exercise daily (e.g., walking) maintains your blood pressure at a healthy level.
Diet: Whole grains, leafy greens, and fruits and vegetables give you Vitamin A, antioxidants, and fiber, which directly contribute to the health of your eyes.
The importance of early detection
When it comes to your long-term eye health, avoiding serious problems and complications is simple—go see your VSP network doctor. If you visit your optometrist at least once per year, then he or she will perform an annual comprehensive eye exam. During this exam, they will be able to detect even the beginnings of a (potentially severe) condition affecting your vision.
What’s that old saying, “nipping it in the bud”? Treating and reducing the effects of each of these conditions is much easier when they’re caught early. So, don’t wait. Your 70s and 80s look good, too.
Use your VSP Individual Vision Plan to schedule an eye exam with your doctor. If you don’t have vision insurance, find out how VSP can help you save on your next eye exam or pair of glasses.