The Older Men’s Guide To A Healthier Vision
Good vision is essential for performing just about any activity and maintaining healthy eyesight is an essential part of your overall health. However, like many other illnesses that come with age, poor vision is another major health problem among the elderly.1
In fact, most adults in their 40s and older develop some type of vision problems that affect their sight, particularly while working on computers and reading.2 Aside from aging, the use of Viagra has also been associated with vision issues in some men.3
If not identified and treated sooner, vision issues in older adults could result in complete or partial vision loss. This proves why taking proper care of your eye health is critical.
To help you avoid serious vision problems in your later years, we’ve rounded a few common eye disorders that you need to be aware of. We’ve also come up with a few tips that can help improve your vision as you age.
Eye Disorders In Older Adults
As you get older, you might develop an array of eye diseases that can affect your eyesight permanently. The sooner you detect and treat these problems, the better chances you have to retain good vision.
Following are some vision disorders you need to look out for:
Glaucoma refers to a group of eye-related problems that affect your eye’s optic nerve - a nerve located at the back of your eye and is responsible for transferring visual information to the brain’s vision centers from the retina via electrical impulses. It’s also among the major causes of sight loss or blindness in people over 60.4
It generally occurs when the pressure level inside the eye is too high, leading to peripheral vision loss. Some late symptoms include trouble navigating while walking and difficulty seeing in low light. If left untreated, it can result in complete vision loss or blindness.
Risk Factors: Glaucoma risk is higher if you’re African-American or if anyone in your family has had glaucoma.5
The symptoms for Glaucoma can be hardly seen and it’s painless early on, so it’s best if you maintain regular eye checkups. As for the treatments, it ranges from oral medications and prescription eye drops to surgery.6
Dry eyes syndrome is a condition where your eyes produce very little or low-quality tears.7 It’s a common chronic problem that occurs in older adults.8 The symptoms9 and underlying causes of this syndrome may vary. However, some of the common symptoms include:
- Blurred vision
- Burning sensation
- Sore eyes
- Sandy or gritty sensation in the eye
- Watery eyes caused by excessive tearing
If ignored, dry eyes can also lead to partial vision loss. Dry eye treatments and management involve the use of special eye drops that offer relief, medication for reducing inflammation, lid-hygiene, and dietary changes. For severe cases, your doctor may recommend using prescription eye drops, tear duct plugs, or surgery.10
Also referred to as diabetic eye disease, diabetic retinopathy is a type of eye disorder that occurs in diabetic patients. Diabetic retinopathy arises when the blood vessels(which are responsible for nourishing the retina) get damaged.
Consequently, the damaged blood vessels either start bleeding or leaking fluids, which in turn, causes the tissue in the retina to swell and affects your vision. If you don’t treat it sooner, it can result in permanent sight loss.
Its symptoms include involuntary eye movements and double vision. For the initial stages of diabetic retinopathy, your doctor will suggest controlling your cholesterol and blood sugar levels. If the condition is more advanced, you might require vitrectomy surgery and laser treatment.
When your eyes are healthy, the lenses are flexible and crystal clear. However, with age, your lenses start becoming less flexible. Plus, cloudy areas start to cover the whole eye lens.11 This is basically what cataracts do to your eye.
Early symptoms of cataracts include poor night vision, blurred or cloudy vision, and colors may not look as vivid. Cataracts generally form slowly and you won’t experience any redness, tearing, or pain. Some remain small and won’t even affect your vision.12
If it gets worse, the only option to remove cataracts is via lens replacement surgery13, where your natural lens will get removed and replace it with an artificial lens.
How Do I Improve My Vision?
Wearing prescription contact lenses or glasses can help improve your vision. However, there are other measures that can help in improving your eye health. They are:
- Having regular eye checkups: Getting regular eye examination is the best way to protect your sight. This is because getting eye checkups early can help detect any issues before they get serious. In fact, most sight impairments can be treated when detected early.14
- Quit smoking: If you’re someone who likes to smoke, it’s about time you quit. Besides being unhealthy for a variety of reasons, smoking can cause vision loss. If you’re a smoker, you’re more likely to develop cataracts. Not only that, but smoking can also cause macular degeneration.15 Moreover, it eliminates the antioxidants that benefit your eyes.
- Getting enough sleep: While giving your eyes rest for a few minutes is helpful, it isn’t enough. Your body needs good sleep regularly. Ask any doctor and they will all agree on how sleep is for your overall wellbeing and health. By getting enough regular sleep, your eyes will be renewed. If you’re someone who engages in a lot of intense virtual activities like reading books or working on computers, taking a couple of minutes of short breaks can help your eyes considerably as it’ll enable them to rest.
- Eating right: As far as maintaining and preserving eye health is of concern, proper nutrition is the key for both men & women. Maintain a healthy diet that’s enriched with antioxidants like Vitamin C and A, fish, and green leafy veggies.16 Salmon is also great as it’s rich in DHA, which is a fatty acid that is beneficial for the macula(part of the eye that’s responsible for clear, central vision).
- Exercising: Exercising regularly will not only be good for your body but also your eyes. It improves blood circulation, thereby improving oxygen levels in the eyes and helps in removing toxins.17
Your chances of developing vision problems increases with age, however, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do to improve your eye health. Regular eye checkups, a healthy diet, and a good lifestyle can all help in improving your sight as you age.