Most Common Eye Disease in Seniors By Gordon Wong, OD on December 29, 2019

An old woman undergoing an eye examAs you get older, it’s a good idea to undergo eye exams more frequently than you did at an early age. This allows optometrists and eye care specialists like Dr. Gordon G. Wong and Dr. Wildon C. Wong to check for vision problems. We’ve helped numerous middle-aged and elderly patients in La Jolla and Del Mar, CA get the treatment they need thanks to regular eye exams.

Below, we want to list a few common eye diseases that affect seniors. This should give you an idea of what symptoms to look for and to discuss with us or your general practitioner.

Presbyopia

Presbyopia is an unavoidable cause of vision loss that begins around middle age. As we get older, the naturally flexible lens of the eye becomes more rigid. As a result, it becomes more difficult for the eye to focus on nearby objects, resulting in an age-related form of hyperopia (farsightedness).

Presbyopia is easy to treat, thankfully. Bifocals or having two sets of glasses is helpful for most people as they get older. It’s also possible to have a modified version of LASIK performed or to get lens implants to address this issue.

Cataracts

Cataracts refers to a clouding of the naturally clear lens of the eye. It’s caused by the tissues of the lens of the eye gradually breaking down with age, eventually clumping together. If you have cataracts, it may feel like you’re looking through a foggy window.

Minor cataracts can be treated with corrective lenses or through the use of various assistive devices for vision. More advanced cataracts can be surgically removed in a routine procedure. The old lens is replaced with an intraocular lens (IOL) during this common surgery.

Macular Degeneration

The macula is the central portion of the retina, the light-sensitive tissue located at the back of the eye. As people get older, the macula can deteriorate, which leads to spots in central vision and eventually total vision loss. Also known as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), it can make reading and recognizing faces difficult.

There is no way to reverse the effects of macular degeneration, but making healthy lifestyle and dietary changes can slow down the rate of vision loss and maintain current vision.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a serious cause of blindness that can be difficult to detect and diagnose. It’s caused by the excessive buildup of pressure within the eye, which causes damage to the optic nerve. It is possible for a person to completely lose their eyesight because of this optic nerve damage.

There is no known cure for glaucoma, but there are many ways to slow its progression and avoid total blindness. Medications are typically prescribed to help reduce intraocular pressure. Surgical procedures can also be performed to help reduce interior eye pressure and relieve the optic nerve.

Dry Eye Syndrome

Getting older doesn’t just mean vision loss. It can also mean a slowdown in tear production. This may not seem like an issue, but the irritation and discomfort caused by persistent dry eye in old age can make simple tasks a chore.

Most times, dry eye can be relieved with the use of lubricating eye drops and proper hydration. For chronic dry eye, punctal plugs and other treatment options can be considered should less invasive options prove ineffective in providing relief.

Contact Our Team of Eye Care Specialists

If you would like more information about vision problems affecting people in their golden years and how we can help, we encourage you to contact our experienced team of eye care specialists. You can reach GW Eye Associates by phone in La Jolla by calling (858) 454-4699 and in Del Mar by calling (858) 755-9465.

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