Eye Diseases After 40
Dr Bhupesh Bagga, Consultant Cornea Department, L V Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad
Although life is reputed to begin at 40, so do many eye problems. That's why people in their 40s should look after their eye health, including having regular eye check-ups. Not all of us experience aging in the same way, but there is one indicator that is almost universal among the middle-aged: diminishing eyesight.
There are few changes in the eye which are due to normal aging process & some eye diseases are more common in older age group. Normal age related eye changes include presbyopia & dry eye.
Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of irreversible vision loss for those over age 65. It gradually destroys the sharp, central vision needed for such common tasks as reading and driving. Symptoms, while not always apparent, include visual distortions, trouble recognizing faces and a need for more light. Once they appear, permanent vision loss may already have occurred. Eyes may be treated with intra ocular drug injections or laser surgery, but vision already lost cannot be restored. Patients once diagnosed need a regular follow up throughout their life.
To maintain healthy eyes throughout your life, routine eye checkups are of paramount importance. There are some signs of eye diseases in elderly like fluctuating vision, seeing floaters or flashes, loss of side vision & seeing distorted images.
Most eye problems can be treated, cured or prevented through regular evaluations and appropriate treatment. Today’s middle-aged and older adults are healthier than past generations. Medical and technological advancements allow them to benefit from timely diagnoses and treatments that were unavailable to their parents.
Presbyopia, the loss of focusing ability for near vision is simply the result of the lens inside the eye becoming less flexible and ciliary muscle weakness. This flexibility allows the eye to change focus from objects are far to objects that are close, a phenomenon which is called accommodation. If your vision was perfect before developing presbyopia, you will now probably need reading glasses.
Dry Eye Syndrome. Over time, our eyes produce fewer tears and become dry, scratchy and irritated as a result. This often increases for women after menopause. Artificial tears solutions provide comfort for this condition.
Diseases which are more common in older age group are cataract, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy & AMD.
Cataract is the most common cause of blindness & cataract surgery is the most common surgical procedure performed in the world. A cataract forms when age-related changes occur in the proteins that are packed into the eye’s lens, blocking out light. It grows very slowly and causes few symptoms in its early stages. Eventually, blurry distance vision, sensitivity to glare, loss of contrast and difficulty seeing colors may result. The only treatment is surgical removal, a common and safe operation that usually includes insertion of a lens implant to restore vision.
Glaucoma is a disease of optic nerve. Glaucoma results from a defect in the drainage system of the aqueous humor, a watery fluid which is present in the eye that increases pressure inside the eye. It may result in visual field loss to complete blindness. Screening of the disease & early diagnosis is most crucial in preventing further disease process. Most of the cases can be managed with medical treatment as eye drops, however some cases require surgery. The people with a family history of this disease are at higher risk & should get a regular eye check-up.