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Old age comes with a lot of diseases and problems. Eye problems are one of the most important issues one is very likely to deal with. As you get older, not only do your body tissues get weaker and softer, some decline in your senses, starting with your eyes is also expected. It is important to get your eyes examined as you get older and if you already have eye problems, do not wait till it gets worse.
The most common eye problems you are likely to face when you age are:
Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
AMD is the most common cause of vision loss in people older than 50. This is a condition that occurs in older adults. It is as a result of damage to the retina. This damage leads to gradual loss of vision in the macular (2.1% of the retina) which results in central vision loss. Peripheral vision (97.9% of the retina) is not affected in this disease. About 1 in 8 people aged over 80 have AMD. It is more common in women. AMD is painless. There are two types of AMD: Wet and dry.
Dry AMD is the most common form of AMD. The retinal pigment epithelial cells slowly degenerate leading to loss of photoreceptor in the macula. It is a gradual process and complete vision loss may take years.
Wet AMD is the more severe form of AMD. It is rare and occurs as a result of abnormal blood vessel which may rupture and cause bleeding. Compared to dry AMD, complete loss of vision can occur in just months with wet AMD.
Some of the symptoms of AMD are:
- Inability to recognize faces
- Inability to read
- Blurred vision
- Distorted vision
- Inability to differentiate colors.
Cataract is the clouding of the lens in the eye. The lens which is the part of the eye responsible for focusing light on the retina is made of proteins which could clump and create cloudy areas. If the lens is not clear, the retina would not receive a sharp image. Although cataracts develop slowly and over time, it can seriously impair your vision. Cataracts can be caused by inherited genetic disorders but as you age, the tissues that make up your lens are broken down and clump together which can also cause clouding of the lens. Also, environmental factors can cause cataracts to get worse over time. There are different types of cataracts. Some of the symptoms include: Blurry vision, double vision, increased sensitivity to light, and difficulty seeing at night. Cataracts can be removed surgically.
Damage to your eye’s optic nerve is what causes glaucoma. Glaucoma is a group of disorders. Increased pressure inside your eye can lead to damage of the nerves which can lead to blindness. It is one of the main causes of blindness in the United States. The vision loss occurs over time. It is a gradual process and there is no treatment for glaucoma so prevention and early diagnosis is the key for this disease. There are two main categories of glaucoma: Open-angle and closed-angle glaucoma. They both relate to the angle between the iris and the cornea.