Age and vision
Eyesight is a key aspect for good quality of life, particularly in old age, and good or bad health has a direct impact on it. Different studies show that the over-60s are the demographic group with most visual health problems, some of which could lead to blindness if not diagnosed and treated in time. The main age-related eye disorders include cataracts, AMD, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. In addition to these disorders are other age-related visual problems such as presbyopia or tired eyes – which can appear after the age of 40–, floaters, dry eye, or corneal opacity.
Prevention, the best strategy
You must look after your eyes in order to tackle these disorders, attempting to keep them in the best condition throughout your life. This will help find out which are the main age-related eyesight disorders, become aware of the importance of regular ophthalmic check-ups, be familiar with diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, hypercholesterolemia or heart disease, which have a direct impact on vision, and to adopt a series of essential healthy habits.
Eating a balanced diet, avoiding smoking and alcohol and taking physical exercise can help avoid many disorders or delay their appearance and improve their prognosis.
Rules for good eyesight in later life
- Undergo full eye check-ups at least once a year.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet rich in antioxidants and Omega 3.
- Do not smoke or stop smoking.
- Exercise in line with your individual characteristics and possibilities.
- Protect your eyes from the sun and from external agents (air, dust, sand, etc.)
- Monitor your blood pressure.
- Monitor your cholesterol levels.
- Monitor your blood glucose levels (especially diabetic patients)
- Check your own eyesight: keep up to date with check-ups, treatments and recommendations by your ophthalmologist.
- Do not resign yourself to vision loss due to age. There plenty yet to see!
Living longer... and better
As you age, the risk of developing significant eye diseases increases, all of which are particularly restrictive in later life as they reduce your capacity to adapt and visual problems are added to other age-related physical and mental conditioning factors. Poor vision in old age can cause falls, fear of going outside, and lack of contact with the environment, affecting one's capacity to take part in social activities, and resulting in feelings of isolation and the onset of depression.
Another important factor to consider is that some of these diseases, such as AMD and glaucoma, are progressive and irreversible and are often symptomless, until they have reached advanced stages of development. Early detection and appropriate treatment can therefore prevent vision impairment and blindness. Consequently, frequent check-ups (every two years after the age of 40 and at least once a year after the age of 60 or if other major risk other factors exist, such as a family history, high myopia or chronic diseases of the central nervous system) are essential.
Anyone, of any age, must remember that you must see a specialist in the event of the slightest warning, such blurred vision or vision impairment, in order to diagnose the cause of the problem and start the right treatment as soon as possible.
Given that it is highly likely you will suffer from some ocular disease in your lifetime, especially in later years, the best strategy is therefore one of prevention, looking after your eyesight from an early age through regular eye tests and a commitment to a healthy lifestyle. Because there’s still plenty to see!