“Inside every old person is a young person wondering what happened.”
- Terry Pratchett
There often comes a point in our lives when we realise that we have started to sound more and more like our parent, we see more and more grey hair and we find ourselves holding the newspaper further and further away. That is when its hits us… We are growing old.
Like it or not, ageing is something nobody has ever escaped. What wrinkles are to the skin, certain eye conditions tend to affect old eyes more commonly. Here is a list of common eye problems that plague ageing eyes:
As one ages, one’s tear glands cannot make sufficient tears or the tears that they do make are of a poor quality. Dry eyes can cause burning, itching or even blurry vision. Use of humidifiers can help in homes which rely a lot on air conditioners. Also, you can ask your eye doctor to prescribe eye drops that work like artificial tears.
More Light for Reading:
As the muscles that control the black of our eye (called the pupil) weaken with passage of time, our eyes become less responsive to changes in light. That is why people in their 60s need thrice the light a 20 years old needs.
Difficulty with Night Driving:
One needs to be more cautious while driving at night since ageing affects peripheral as well as night vision. How quickly one can process visual information and make split second decisions while driving should be given due thought while considering if one is fit to continue driving at night.
As the natural lens of our eye ages, it gradually loses flexibility. Presbyopia is an age related eye condition in which the lens of your eye loses its ability to focus actively on nearby objects. It is a natural part of aging and often becomes noticeable around the age of 45 and continues to worsen until 65. You would know you that you have presbyopia by the fact that you tend to hold a book or the newspaper further away in order to focus on them.
Tiny specks of light or ‘cobwebs’ that seem to float across our vision can be a normal part of aging. These are especially common in brightly lit rooms and outdoors on a sunny day. Sometimes, these floaters may increase suddenly. This is when one should see their eye doctor right away, for it may be the sign of a serious eye condition called retinal detachment.
Well, we may not (yet) be able to escape ageing, but the ageing of our eyes can definitely be slowed down. Here are a few tips that can help you slow down your eyes’ ageing process:
Regular Eye Tests
After 40 years of age, it is recommended that one should have one’s eyes tested every year. If any of these findings reveal the beginning of any eye conditions or if you have any risk factors such as diabetes or high blood pressure, ask your eye doctor to recommend if you need an earlier eye check. Do not avoid getting your eyes dilated with drops, for it will not be possible to examine the entire retina if you skip this time consuming but essential step.
We all know how harmful UV rays are for our skin. They can be just as bad for our eyes too! They can cause cataracts and may play a role in accelerating AMD. Ensure that your sunglasses have adequate UV protection.
Toxic substances in cigarettes like tar and nicotine are not just bad for one’s lungs. They can put you at risk for ARMD (Age related macular degeneration) or diabetic retinopathy.
An eye on your plate
What you eat can go a long way in ensuring that your eyes remain young. Studies suggest that anti-oxidants found in fruits like carrots, oranges, sweet limes, corn and green leafy vegetables like spinach help lower one’s risk for ARMD and cataracts.
Don’t forget that hat
A wide brimmed hat when you’re outdoors will give you extra protection from the sun. Whether its gardening or playing golf, do keep your eyes protected!
You may also like to read: Cataract