You will notice a change in your vision once you are in your 40s. You might notice that you are having a tough time seeing distant or nearby objects, reading books, or having trouble adjusting to the glare. These problems worsen with age.
Just like grey hairs and wrinkles on your skin indicate ageing, your eyes too are affected by age and therefore show symptoms of the ageing process. Some of these changes are normal and are age-related developments.
However, certain conditions may indicate the vision-threatening condition. And this is the reason why it’s important to visit an ophthalmologist regularly for monitoring your eye health and to ensure an early diagnosis and timely treatment.
The eye undergoes a number of changes with age. The eye lens begins to stiffen. This makes focusing on close objects tough. The eye lens also becomes denser and makes seeing in dim light harder. Even the pupil reacts slowly to the changes in light. You will also notice that the lens becomes yellow and changes the way you perceive colours. With age, the number of nerve cells in your eyes decreases. This impairs the depth perception. Moreover, your eyes produce less fluid, making them dry.
These changes in your eyes often contribute to serious eye conditions. This includes:
All over the world, about 1.3 billion people have this condition (as of 2011) and it is estimated that by 2020, the number will reach 2.1 billion. The condition involves the eyes to lose the ability to focus light properly.
It’s impossible to prevent presbyopia, even if you have maintained eye health all your life. If you are nearsighted, you will see that your near vision is hazy even when you are wearing your usual glasses and lenses.
If you have presbyopia, you will notice that:
- You have to hold your books and smartphone far away from your eyes to see clearly.
- Even if you can see well up close, Presbyopia will cause eye strain, headaches, and fatigues. You will notice that near vision tasks become more tiring.
This is an age-related process. It is believed that it is caused by the gradual thickening of the lens and due to the loss of flexibility of the eye’s natural lens. The age-related changes occur mainly within the protein in the eye lens making the eye lens hard and inflexible with time. Age-related changes also occur in the muscle fibres surrounding the eye lens. As elasticity diminishes, the eye has a tough time focusing up close.
The most popular treatment for Presbyopia is using glasses with Progressive Lens. This is a common solution for people over 40. Another option is using bifocal lenses. However, this is less popular as it offers a limited range of vision. The doctor may also prescribe reading glasses. Unlike bifocals and progressive lenses, you cannot wear reading glasses all day long. These are worn only when you need to see smaller prints.
2. Dry Eyes
This is a condition where your eyes do not get enough lubrication due to an insufficient amount of tears. This is a very common and chronic problem, especially in older adults.
- Age: Dry eyes are a part of the ageing process. Most of the people who are over 65 years experience dry eyes.
- Gender: Women are more prone to this condition. It’s due to the hormonal changes that occur in them after pregnancy, menopause, and/or use of oral contraceptives.
- Medications: Certain medicines including medicines for blood pressure, antihistamines, antidepressants, and decongestants may affect tear production.
- Medical conditions: If you have diabetes, thyroid issues, and rheumatoid arthritis, you are more likely to have dry eyes. Also, conditions such as blepharitis, inflammation of the eye surfaces, can cause dry eyes.
- Environmental conditions: Excessive exposure to dry climate, wind, and smoke increase tear evaporation causing dry eyes. Often, staring at the computer screen for a sustained period of time makes the eyes dry.
Treatment options include:
1. Lubricant eye treatments
If you have mild to moderate level of dry eye syndrome, the doctor usually treats this condition using ointments, eye drops, and gels.
2. Preservative-free drops
Many eye drops contain preservatives to prevent bacterial growth in the bottle. However, if you need to use the drops more than six times a day, it’s better to choose preservative-free eye drops.
3. Special tear eye drops
Many eye drops that restore the oily part of the tear film and prevent evaporation are also used widely. These medications include liposomal sprays.
4. Anti-inflammatory medicines
Anti-inflammatory medicines such as Corticosteroids can be used as ointments and eye drops in severe cases.
5. Serum eye drops
These are needed in very rare cases where all other options have failed.
This is the clouding of the natural eye lens that makes your vision blurry and hazy.
The common symptoms of Cataract include:
- Cloudy or blurry vision
- Colours appearing faded
- Light sensitivity. You may also see a halo around lights.
- Poor night vision
- Double vision (This happens when the cataract gets larger.)
The eye lenses lie just behind the iris and the pupil. It is mainly composed of water and protein. As you age, the protein may clump together forming a cloud in a small area of the lens. This is called a cataract. Diabetes and smoking are several causes of cataract. It may be also caused by the changes in the protein due to years of wear and tear of the eye lens.
You have to undergo a Cataract surgery for removing cataracts from the eyes.
This is a condition that damages the eye’s optic nerve. It gets worse with time. Glaucoma is caused by the pressure build-up inside your eye.
Most of the people do not show early symptoms or pain. A comprehensive eye examination is the only way to diagnose glaucoma.
Normally, the fluid in your eye (also known as aqueous humour), flows out of your eye through a channel. When this channel is blocked, the liquid accumulates in your eyes increasing the pressure. That’s what causes glaucoma. The reason for the blockage is not known but experts believe that this condition can be inherited.
Your doctor may recommend prescription eye drops, microsurgery, or laser surgery depending on the condition. The eye drops may either reduce the fluid build-up or increase its flow.
5. Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a problem that affects your retina. It is caused when the macula, the central part of your retina is damaged. AMD affects your central vision.
The first sign that you may notice is a sudden or a gradual change in your vision. Straight lines may appear distorted to you. The situation might escalate quickly causing a dramatic loss of central vision.
Other symptoms may include:
- Dark areas in your line of vision or whiteout appearing in your central vision
- In rare cases, you may also notice a change in colour perception
The exact cause of AMD is not yet clear but this condition develops as you get old.
There’s no cure for AMD, however, treatment will slow down the disease and prevent severe vision loss. Treatment options include:
Anti-angiogenic drugs: This medicine is injected into your eyes and is used for stopping the formation of new blood vessels. This also blocks the leakage from the abnormal blood vessels.
Laser therapy: Doctor may also recommend treating your condition with high-energy laser light. This often destroys abnormal blood vessels that are growing actively.
Photodynamic laser therapy: This is a two-step treatment using a light-sensitive drug for damaging the abnormal blood vessels.
Submacular surgery: In this surgery, the surgeon removes the scar tissue, abnormal blood vessels, and blood.
Retinal translocation: In this procedure, the doctor destroys the abnormal blood vessels in your eye that are located just under the centre of the macula. This is a spot where the doctors cannot reach safely using a laser beam.
6. Diabetic Retinopathy
People who have diabetes can get this condition. Diabetic Retinopathy is caused when high sugar levels in your body damage the blood vessels in your retina. These blood vessels often swell and leak. Or they may get blocked completely. Sometimes abnormal blood vessels also grow on your retina. All of these changes can cause vision loss.
You can notice symptoms only when the disease advances. Typical symptoms include:
- Sudden changes in vision
- Hazy vision
- Floaters in your vision
- Double vision
- Pain in the eye
Diabetic retinopathy is caused due to high blood glucose levels over a period of time. High sugar levels weaken and damage the blood vessels in the retina. This causes haemorrhages and retinal swelling. This also blocks the flow of oxygen to the retina, causing abnormal growth of blood vessels. Controlling your blood sugar levels lowers your risk of getting retinopathy.
Diabetic retinopathy affects your vision, Treatment options include:
- Laser treatment: This is for treating the growth of new blood vessels in the retina in cases of proliferative diabetic retinopathy. Laser treatment is also used for stabilising some cases of maculopathy.
- Eye injections: The doctor may administer eye injections for treating severe maculopathy.
- Eye surgery: This surgery is done for removing scar tissue or from the eye. Surgery is only done if laser treatment isn’t possible due to the advanced stage of retinopathy.
7. Arcus Senilis
This is an age-related eye issue where you will see grey, white, or blue ring in the margin of the cornea (peripheral corneal opacity), or white ring in front of the periphery of the iris.
It is present in infants at birth but gradually, it fades; however, these rings can be commonly seen in the eyes of the elderly. Arcus senilis is generally harmless, although it can sometimes be a sign of high cholesterol in people under 45 years of age.
- A white, grey, or blue circle or arc around the cornea of the eye.
- The circle or arc will have a sharp outer border but a blurred inner border.
- If someone has an arc, the lines could grow to form a complete circle in front of the iris.
Arcus senilis is a condition affecting only older adults. It occurs due to fat deposits or a lipid that forms in the outer part of the cornea. These fat deposits in your blood come from the fatty foods in your diet. The liver also produces fat.
Cholesterol is a type of fat that’s found in the blood. However, if Arcus Senilis occurs, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have high cholesterol. The blood vessels in your eyes widen with age. When you age, your blood vessels allow cholesterol build-up in your eye. In case Arcus Senilis occurs in people under 40, the doctor will do tests for checking high cholesterol.
There is no cure for arcus senilis. Once you get it, it won’t disappear. If you got this condition due to high cholesterol, the doctor may recommend a diet low in saturated fats. Exercise and quitting smoking may also help.
Medicines that are used for lowering cholesterol levels include:
- Statin drugs: These medicines block a particular substance that the liver uses for making cholesterol. The doctor may prescribe medicines such as pravastatin (Pravachol), atorvastatin (Lipitor), lovastatin, and fluvastatin.
- Resins for binding Bile acid: These resins prompt your liver to use the cholesterol for producing more bile acids. This lowers the amount of cholesterol in your blood. The doctor may prescribe cholestyramine, colestipol, and colesevelam.
- Inhibitors for Cholesterol absorption: These helps in reducing the amount of cholesterol that is absorbed by your body. The doctor may prescribe ezetimibe to you.
Cataract Surgery in Kolkata
Do not let cataracts affect your vision and your quality of life. Cataract surgery costs in Kolkata are quite reasonable. If you are looking for a good hospital for the surgery, get in touch with Disha Eye Hospital today.