Vision changes are one of the first ways your body lets you know that you're getting older.
They're usually subtle at first, often beginning in middle age, and include these problems.
You have to hold books and newspapers farther away to read them.
What it could be: Presbyopia, or the inability to focus up close.
Presbyopia is one of the most common vision problems in middle age. As you get older, the lens of your eye becomes less flexible. A less flexible lens can't focus clearly.
What to do: If reading is harder than it used to be, make an appointment for an eye exam. Your doctor may recommend reading glasses, which come with and without a prescription. You can use them for close-up viewing, like reading a menu or book.
If you need help seeing both near and far, bifocals correct for close-up and distant focus.
Progressive lenses or trifocals are lenses that can help you see better near, far, and everywhere in between.
Contact lenses are available for people who have presbyopia. Laser surgery may also be an option.
The world looks blurry -- both up close, and at a distance.
What it could be: Astigmatism.
In astigmatism, the shape of the eye's cornea makes it hard to focus light clearly on the back of your eye, making everything look out of focus.
What to do: See your eye doctor. A pair of glasses or contact lenses can correct astigmatism. Laser surgery is a longer-term option that restores clear vision by reshaping your cornea.
Your eyes feel dry and irritated all the time.
What it could be: Dry eye syndrome.
As you get older, your eyes naturally produce less tears. Having laser eye surgery or wearing contact lenses can make the problem worse.
What to do: Dry eyes are more than just irritating. Your eyes need to stay wet to keep them healthy. Dry eyes will hurt your vision if you let it go for a long time. If you've got mild dry eyes, artificial tears, which can be bought without a prescription, can bring back the moisture your eyes are missing.
You should see your eye doctor if nonprescription drops don’t relieve your dry eye symptoms, since dry eyes can be a symptom of other eye problems.
You have uncontrolled diabetes and your eyesight changes from day to day.
What it could be: Rising and falling blood sugar levels.
Untreated diabetes can affect your whole body, including your eyes. Over time, uncontrolled high blood sugar from diabetes damages the delicate blood vessels in your eyes. These damaged vessels leak blood, which affects your vision.
What to do: See your doctor for a checkup, even if you don't think you have diabetes (many people have diabetes and don't know it).