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Eye Health Center

Age-Related Vision Problems

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Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that causes vision loss. High pressure inside the eye or poor circulation causes damage to the optic nerve. This nerve carries images from the eye to the brain.  

The more common forms of glaucoma develop slowly and show no clear symptoms early on. You may not know you have it. But it can cause blindness. Age makes it more likely, as do these things:

  • A family history of glaucoma
  • African or Hispanic ancestry
  • High levels of farsightedness or nearsightedness
  • Past eye injury
  • High eye pressure or low blood pressure
  • Diabetes

Treatments include eye drops, other medication, laser treatment, and surgery.

Cataracts

With a cataract, the lens of the eye becomes cloudy and your vision gets blurry. They're often associated with aging. Half of all Americans have them by the time they reach 80.  

Symptoms of a cataract often develop slowly and can include:

  • Blurry, cloudy, or dim vision -- a little like looking through a dirty windshield
  • Double vision with one eye
  • Trouble seeing at night or in dim light
  • Halos around lights
  • Sensitivity to light and glare
  • Faded or yellow colors, or trouble telling the difference between blues and greens
  • Trouble seeing an object against a background of the same color

It's not clear what causes cataracts, though they become more likely as you age. These factors may also raise your risk:

  • Lots of exposure to sunlight
  • Smoking
  • High cholesterol or high blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Previous eye injury or surgery
  • Family history of cataracts

At earlier stages, simply changing your eyeglass or contacts prescription is all you need. Using brighter lights for reading or a magnifying glass may also help. 

If halos or glare are problems, limit night driving. Glare can also happen during the day, so make sure your vision prescription is up to date, and ask if special tinting could lessen glare.

If a cataract begins to interfere with your day-to-day life, an ophthalmologist specializing in cataract surgery can remove the cloudy lens and replace it with a clear lens implant.

 

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