Per the Alberta Association of Optometrists (AAO), your eyes are the windows to your overall health, and an eye exam can also uncover underlying, and sometimes life-threatening, health issues. Early detection is always important in treating eye disease and health issues.
The most common eye problems among seniors include:
Presbyopia is a natural effect of aging, usually occurring after the age of 40, in which the ability to focus on close objects decreases over time. It can cause headaches, blurred vision, tired eyes and the need for more light. This can be corrected with glasses or contact lenses.
Cataracts exist when the normally clear lens within your eye becomes cloudy and opaque. Cataracts are a function of aging and are most often found in people over the age of 60, although they are occasionally found in younger people, including newborns.
Diabetes and its complications can affect many parts of the eye, and can cause changes in vision. Detection during an eye exam is often the first indication that a person may have the disease, or that a person with diabetes does not have adequate blood sugar control. The most serious eye problem associated with diabetes is diabetic retinopathy.
Macular degeneration affects the macula–the central most part of the retina. It causes the centre of your vision to blur or distort while the side or peripheral vision remains unaffected. It is generally related to the aging process, and is the leading cause of blindness in North American adults over the age of 55. While there is no cure, early detection and prevention measures can delay or reduce vision loss.
Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in Canada. It is a progressive disease that most frequently occurs in individuals over the age of 40, with the risk of the disease increasing with age. There is a greater risk of developing glaucoma for people with diabetes, high blood pressure, a history of eye injuries or a family history of glaucoma.