EYESIGHT CHANGES WITH AGING
Difficulty focusing close up may begin in the 40s;
with most of us needing reading
between ages 40 and 50. The ability to distinguish fine
details may begin to decline in the 70s. From 50 on,
there is increased susceptibility to glare, greater
difficulty in seeing at low levels of illumination,
and more difficulty in detecting moving targets.
Changes In Eye Tissues & Fats With Age
Tissues around our eyes atrophy and fat around the
eye is lost; resulting in the upper lid drooping and
the lower lid turning inward or outward.
Changes In Tears With Age
Production of tears decreases. This decrease, combined
with atrophy around the eye increases the chance of
Changes In Cornea With Age
Changes are usually related to disease and not aging.
Changes In The Iris With Age
The colored part of the eye, becomes more rigid, the
pupil becomes smaller.
Changes In The Lens With Age
Shape changes as new lens fibres grow at the periphery,
forcing older fibres to move to the center forming a
denser central section. This makes us susceptible to
The lens progressively accumulates yellow substances,
possibly from a chemical reaction involving sunlight
with amino acids in the lens. These substances reduce
the amount of light and color entering the eye, and
this yellow filtering causes the lens to become less
transparent to the blue part of the color spectrum.
To older eyes, blue appears greenish blue. occur,
Changes In The Vitreous Body With Age
The jellylike substance inside of the eye tends to
shrink, causing traction, or pulling, on the retina.
It also becomes more liquid, and densities may form
in it that produce visual images called floaters.
Changes In Retina With Age
Blood vessel disease involving the retina is common
resulting in changes in the blood supply of the retina.
This contributes to macular degeneration, one of the
most common causes of vision loss as we age
Changes in vision are due to a number of factors that
occur with aging:
- Elasticity of the Lens
a condition in which it becomes harder to focus on
nearby objects is mainly due to decreased elasticity
of the lens and atrophy of the muscle that controls
the lens shape. It affects men and women equally and
begins in our early twenties, although it is usually
not noticeable until 20 or 30 years later.
- Change in the diameter of the pupil
- loss of the focusing power of the
lens, and increased scattering of light reduces the
sharpness of our vision when looking at static objects.
Our ability to discriminate detail in a moving object,
decreases more rapidly as we age than static acuity.
This decline is partly due to a loss of the cells
along the visual pathway in the brain.
- Changes in the shape of our eyes
and the formation of cataracts
reduce visual acuity. Women are more likely than men
to have cataracts. Unprotected exposure of the eyes
to the sun is a major cause of cataracts.
- Ability to adapt to abrupt change from
light to dark areas is a reliable age
marker; the change is so significant that a person's
age may be predicted to within three years on the
basis of this performance. For example, after two
minutes of reduced illumination, young eyes are almost
five times as sensitive as older people's eyes; after
40 minutes, there is a 240-fold difference.
- Ability to discriminate objects
in the presence glare declines with age. Older people
require 50 to 70 percent more light than younger people
to recognize an object near a source of glare. This
is caused by the older opaque lens scattering of peripheral
light resulting in a greater apparent sensation of
glare Removing the lens because of a cataract decreases
this perceived glare.
is the most well known eyesight related change with
aging, commonly known as short-sightedness. The effect
of presyopia is that it becomes more dificult to read
in low lighting or to read materials at short distances.
More on Presbyopia
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD
Age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) is a degenerative
condition of the macula (the central retina). It is
the most common cause of vision loss in the United States
in those 50 or older, and its prevalence increases with
age. AMD is caused by hardening of the arteries that
nourish the retina. This deprives the sensitive retinal
tissue of oxygen and nutrients that it needs to function
and thrive. As a result, the central vision deteriorates.
The symptoms of ARMD are:
- Loss of central vision - This may be gradual
for those with the dry type. Patients with the wet
type may experience a sudden decrease of the central
vision. Difficulty reading or performing tasks that
require the ability to see detail.
- Distorted vision - Straight lines such
as a doorway or the edge of a window may appear wavy
Recent studies have demonstrated a strong link between
nutrition and the development of macular degeneration.
People with diets high in fruits and vegetables [specially
leafy green vegetables] have a lower incidence of macular
More on macular degeneration.
Treatments of age related eye conditions
Supplements to improve eyesight and prevent aging.
latest in eyesight news
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