Preventing the Most Common Causes of Vision Loss Among the Elderly

Elderly Man Massaging Nosebridge

Vision often begins to decline as we get older. In fact, it’s estimated that about 37 million Americans over 50 years of age suffer from vision loss. You will probably start to notice some changes in middle age, when you suddenly can’t read in dim light and need to pull out your reading glasses to see the menu at your favorite restaurant. Around this same time, you may notice that your night vision isn’t what it used to be, and you’ll start needing to wear your glasses when you’re driving at night. As you get older, it’s more important than ever to schedule regular eye appointments, because vision loss in elderly people can be quite serious. With regular eye exams, you can stay on top of some of the common causes of vision loss in elderly patients, preserving your vision for years to come. What are some of the most common causes?

  • Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss in the elderly. This condition damages the central vision, making it difficult to see things clearly, and can impede the ability to do everyday things like reading and driving. Fortunately, eye doctors can offer treatments for AMD, and there are dietary supplements that can slow its progression.
  • Glaucoma is typically caused by too much fluid pressure in the eye. This is a serious condition that can lead to vision loss or even blindness without the proper treatment. In fact, glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness globally, behind cataracts. There are no early symptoms or pain with glaucoma, so it must be detected in an eye exam. Once diagnosed, it can be treated with prescription eyedrops, laser treatment, or surgery.
  • Diabetic retinopathy can occur in those with diabetes. This is a condition with no early warning signs, so if you have diabetes, it’s crucial that you have a dilated eye exam at least once a year. You can prevent diabetic neuropathy or slow its progression in the early stages by keeping blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure under control. In the later stages, it can sometimes be treated with laser surgery.
  • Cataracts are surprisingly common. Cloudy areas in the eye’s lens, caused by a build-up of proteins in the eye, they cause blurred or hazy vision. Sometimes, they don’t have much of an impact, because they stay small. In other cases, however, they become large and can greatly reduce vision or even cause blindness. Fortunately, your eye doctor can eliminate your cataracts with surgery.

Because the early stages of these conditions often go unnoticed, it’s crucial to have regular eye exams. In fact, no matter your age, scheduling an annual eye appointment is important for your vision as well as your eye health. If you’re looking for an ophthalmologist or optometrist in Derry, Londonderry, Raymond or Windham, Spindel Eye Associates is here for you. Having spent over 35 years providing eye care in New Hampshire, our eye doctors proudly provide our patients with personalized eye care, using top of the line technology. For more information or to schedule an appointment call 603.421.6536 or contact us through our website.