This article was submitted by Felicity Dyer
As we grow older, changes in vision are natural – but for many seniors, the changes don’t need to be as bad as expected! Here are five important facts to know about how your vision will continue to change as you grow older – and what you can do to mitigate most of the problems.
Tips on Senior Eye Health :
1) The Ability to Focus will Slow Down
The ability to focus the eyes is one of the key aspects of good vision. If you can walk from a brightly-lit area to a dim one and have your eyes adjust in just a few seconds, that’s good! However, seniors can expect to see a natural decrease in their ability to focus. It takes longer to adjust to changes in lighting, you might need more light to see (especially for tasks like driving), and you may not react as quickly to sudden changes.
Take this into account when planning your day, and try to give yourself enough time to let your eyes refocus.
2) You’ll Experience Contrast Sensitivity
Contrasts are one of the main ways of separating one thing from another. Perhaps the most famous problem with contrast is black ice on the road – it wouldn’t be so bad if you knew it was coming, but near-invisible areas where you can lose traction cause more than a few collisions every year.
As seniors grow older, subtle changes in color make it harder to spot the edges of objects and separate them from their background. This can be resolved by deliberately creating contrasts in color and design – the greater the contrasts, the easier it will be to separate objects from the background.
3) Cataracts Are Likely
Cataracts – a clouding of the lens of the eye – are a common condition in seniors. In fact, it’s believed that more than half of all people who reach 80 will either have cataracts at that point or have had surgery to remove them. Cloudiness in vision is a real safety issue – nobody wants to trip over dangers they didn’t see – so it’s important to have a regular eye exam as you age and understand the treatment options.
4) Floaters are Natural
Floaters are a natural development of aging, and often look like dots, lines, or squiggles that keep moving around even when the eye is still. Having a small number of these probably won’t impair your vision much, and they’ll be fine if left alone.
However, if you suddenly see a lot of floaters in your eye, that’s a sign that the vitreous – the gel substance inside the eye that makes it round – is pulling away from the retina. That’s bad, and could be the first sign of retinal detachment – if you or someone you know begins suffering from a sudden onslaught of floaters, they need immediate medical attention (and should not drive themselves to go see the doctor). Without treatment, this could quickly lead to permanent blindness.
5) Nutrition Makes All The Difference
Many factors can affect the health of your eyes – where you live, what you did for a job, and even who your ancestors were. While there’s no way to absolutely guarantee you won’t be affected by any of the problems we described above, it’s often possible to minimize their impact on you by having a healthy diet and giving your body the nutrition it needs
Meet Felicity Dryer
Originally born in Flagstaff, Arizona, Felicity Dryer was raised by her parents (more or less modern-day hippies) to always make her health a top priority. She moved to Los Angeles to pursue her career as a freelance health writer, and continues to help those seeking encouragement to keep moving forward to achieve their goals.