Age-related vision changes are normal. A few common changes for older adults include a need for more time to adjust to changing levels of light or losing the ability to see up close. Having trouble distinguishing colors is also a sign of age-related vision changes. These problems are often easily corrected.
Glasses, contact lenses, and improved lighting may help and allow you to maintain your lifestyle and independence. Your risk for some eye diseases and conditions increases as you grow older, and some eye changes are more serious. Keep your eyes as healthy as possible by getting regular eye exams so any problems can be spotted early.
Symptoms of Age-Related Vision Changes
While not everyone will experience the same symptoms, the following are common age-related vision changes:
Need for more light: As you age, you need more light to see as you used to. Brighter lights will help make close-up tasks easier.
Difficulty reading and doing close work: Printed materials can become less clear because the lens in your eye becomes less flexible over time. This makes it harder for your eyes to focus on near objects.
Changes in color perception: The normally clear lens located inside your eye may start to discolor. This makes it harder to see and distinguish between certain color shades.
Problems with a glare: When driving, you may notice additional glare from headlights at night or sun reflecting off windshields or pavement during the day. Changes in the lenses in your eyes cause light entering the eye to be scattered rather than focused precisely on the retina.
Reduced tear production: With age, the tear glands in your eyes will produce fewer tears. This is mainly accurate for women experiencing hormone changes. Consequently, your eyes may feel dry and irritated. Having a sufficient amount of tears is vital for keeping your eyes healthy and for maintaining clear sight.
Age-Related Eye Disease and Conditions
The following are eye problems that may lead to vision loss and blindness in older adults. They may have few or no early symptoms. Regular eye exams are your best protection.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD): This can harm the sharp, central vision needed to see objects clearly and to do common things like driving and reading.
Diabetic retinopathy: This may occur if you have diabetes. It develops slowly, often with no early warning signs. If you have diabetes, be sure to have a dilated eye exam at least once a year.
Cataracts: These are cloudy areas in the eye’s lens which causes blurred or hazy vision. Some cataracts stay small and don’t change your eyesight much. Others become large and reduce vision.
Glaucoma: This is usually caused by too much fluid pressure inside the eye. People with glaucoma often have no early symptoms or pain.
Dry eye: This occurs when tear glands don’t work well. You may feel stinging or burning, a sandy feeling as if something is in the eye, or another discomfort.