Routine examinations and maintaining proper eye care are important for people of all ages, however, seeing the optometrist is even more important as people age. Seniors are at risk for developing age-related eye diseases, however, when problems are recognized and treated in their earliest stages, total vision loss is less likely to develop. Here are some age-related eye diseases that need to be caught early on and closely monitored by your eye care professional.
Eye care interventions for glaucoma include limiting caffeine intake, drinking plenty of water, consuming nutrient-dense foods, using your eye drops, and getting regular exercise because it can help lower intraocular pressure.
Glaucoma is classified as either closed-angle or open-angle and is more common as people age. Closed-angle glaucoma not only causes both central and peripheral visual deficits, but it can also cause severe eye pain, headaches, facial pain, eye redness, watery eyes, and burning eyes.
It can even cause dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. Conversely, open-angle glaucoma rarely causes symptoms other than peripheral vision loss. Central vision loss is typically a sign of advanced glaucoma.
Open-angle glaucoma is more common than closed-angle glaucoma, however, the eye care professional typically uses the same diagnostic testing methods to rule out either type. Depending on which type of glaucoma you have, treatment options may include beta-blocker eye drops to help lower intraocular eye pressure or steroid eye drops. In late-stage disease, laser surgery may be recommended to help facilitate drainage of excess intraocular fluid.
If the lenses of your eyes become cloudy, then you probably have cataracts. Optometrists can recommend a stronger eyeglasses prescription to compensation for cataract-related visual deficits, however, the only curative treatment option is surgery to remove cataracts. Cataract surgery is minimally invasive, and post-operative eye care involves keeping the affected eye covered with a protective shield until you see your doctor, using your antibiotic ointment, and instilling your eye drops per your doctor's orders.
During cataract surgery, you will be awake. Your eye surgeon will remove the cloudy lens from your eye and replace it with a plastic lens. Signs and symptoms of cataracts include dim or blurred vision, colors that appear "yellowish," halo-effects around bright lights, light sensitivity, and poor night vision.
If you develop vision problems, make an appointment with your optometrist. After a complete examination, which will include a slit-lamp assessment, your doctor will recommend the most appropriate treatment plan.
To learn more about eye care, reach out to an optometrist near you.